Ippei Mizuhara, Ex-Ohtani Interpreter, Pleads Guilty to Gambling-Related Fraud Charges

Ex-Shohei Ohtani interpreter Ippei Mizuhara used a 45-minute hearing to take accountability for one of the most alarming acts of gambling and theft in sports history.

Mizuhara appeared in court Tuesday to enter guilty pleas on bank fraud and subscribing to a false tax return charges. He faces up to 30 years in prison on the bank fraud count and a three-year penalty on the falsified tax return charge.

Reporters on site said Mizuhara’s attorney left the courthouse in Santa Ana, CA, without comment.

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Ex-Shohei Ohtani Interpreter Accrued Staggering Debt

Court records suggest Mizuhara won $142 million — but lost $183 million for a $41 million deficit during a 25-month gambling binge. From December 2022 to January 2024, the ex-Ohtani interpreter placed an estimated 19,000 bets.

ESPN and the LA Times broke news of the investigation in March 2024. Their reports detailed how the ex-Shohei Ohtani interpreter used his place in the two-time AL MVP’s inner circle to steal money and fund his multi-million-dollar gambling habit.

Stefanie Dazio and Amy Taxin of the Associated Press covered Mizuhara’s admission as part of Tuesday’s plea hearing. Mizuhara used court protocol when he referred to Ohtani as “victim A” during his confession:

“I worked for victim A and had access to his bank account and had fallen into major gambling debt. I went ahead and wired money … with his bank account.”

Baseball Clears Ohtani of Wrongdoing

Major League Baseball launched its own investigation on March 22. Moments after Mizuhara formally entered his guilty plea on Tuesday, MLB issued a statement calling its investigation closed. Anthony Castrovince posted official statements from the league and the LA Dodgers at MLB.com.

“Based on the thoroughness of the federal investigation that was made public, the information MLB collected, and the criminal proceeding being resolved without being contested, MLB considers Shohei Ohtani a victim of fraud and this matter has been closed.”

The Dodgers said they are pleased Ohtani and the team can put federal and MLB investigations behind them and move forward in pursuit of a World Series title.

A federal judge will sentence Mizuhara on Oct. 25. The court date lands in the heart of baseball’s postseason. Ohtani’s Dodgers are favored in World Series odds to claim the organization’s eighth title.

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About the Author
Russ Mitchell

Russ Mitchell

Lead Writer
Russ Mitchell joined Gaming Today as a lead writer in February 2023 after joining Catena Media in 2021 as a managing editor for the PlayIA and PlayVA brands. He covers sports betting industry news market developments, the college sports betting industry, and the four major North American pro sports leagues. With 25+ years of journalism experience to Gaming Today. He is a five-time winner of the Iowa’s prestigious Harrison “Skip” Weber Investigative Reporting award, a two-time National Newspaper Association award winner and a 50-time Iowa Newspaper Association award winner.

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