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Ohtani’s Ex-Translator Enters Guilty Plea

Ippei Mizuhara, the former translator for Los Angeles Dodgers superstar Shohei Ohtani, plead guilty this week to two charges of bank and tax fraud. Mizuhara faces as many as 30 years behind bars for his role in pilfering millions from Ohtani that he used on black market sports betting.

Sometime next week, Mizuhara will formally enter his guilty plea on charges of bank fraud and subscribing to a false tax return in a federal courtroom. The bank fraud charge carries a maximum sentence of 30 years, while the tax charge carries a three-year sentence. It’s unclear if Mizuhara has struck some sort of plea deal with prosecutors in exchange for testimony but given the scope of the black market betting operation he patronized, that seems like a real possibility.

The scale of Mizuhara’s gambling problem, the $16 million in stolen cash he used to fund it, left prosecutors in awe. “The extent of this defendant’s deception and theft is massive. 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,” United States Attorney Martin Estrada said in comments reported on by Los Angeles Magazine.

Investigators from the IRS were just as confident in their case against with Special Agent in Charge Tyler Hatcher, IRS Criminal Investigation, Los Angeles Field Office adding, “Our joint investigation with Homeland Security Investigations clearly showed Mr. Mizuhara not only stole from Mr. Ohtani, but also that he lied to the IRS about his income. Mr. Mizuhara exploited his relationship with Mr. Ohtani to bankroll his own irresponsibility. In cases where we are able to identify them, we make every effort to make things right for victims, and this is one of those cases.”

Mizuhara remains free on bond and is undergoing treatment for his gambling addiction.