Ippei Mizuhara Pleads Guilty to Bank Fraud in Shohei Ohtani Gambling Scandal

Dec 14, 2023; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Ippei Mizuhara.
Dec 14, 2023; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Ippei Mizuhara. / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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Ippei Mizuhara—the former translator for Los Angeles Dodgers designated hitter and pitcher Shohei Ohtani—has agreed to one count of bank fraud and one of subscribing to a false tax return, the government announced Wednesday.

According a Justice Department release, Mizuhara—who will be arraigned Tuesday—admitted to stealing approximately $17 million from Ohtani's bank account "without the player’s knowledge or permission."

“The extent of this defendant’s deception and theft is massive,” U.S. Attorney Martin Estrada said in a government statement. “He took advantage of his position of trust to take advantage of Mr. Ohtani and fuel a dangerous gambling habit. My office is committed to vindicating victims throughout our community and ensuring that wrongdoers face justice.”

Between his two charges, Mizuhara faces a maximum of 33 years in prison. Per Wednesday's release, his deceptions included impersonating Ohtani 24 times to a bank and stealing $325,000 to purchase baseball cards from eBay for future resale.

The Dodgers fired Mizuhara, who had worked with Ohtani since 2013, on March 20 as reports of his gambling habit began to emerge.


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Patrick Andres

PATRICK ANDRES

Patrick Andres is a staff writer on the Breaking and Trending News team at Sports Illustrated. He joined SI in December 2022, having worked for The Blade, Athlon Sports, Fear the Sword and Diamond Digest. Andres has covered everything from zero-attendance Big Ten basketball to a seven-overtime college football game. He is a graduate of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism with a double major in history .