Former Shohei Ohtani interpreter pleads guilty to charges in sports betting case

 

Ippei Mizuhara, the former interpreter for Shohei Ohtani, pleaded guilty to bank and tax fraud related to the sports betting scandal around the Los Angeles Dodgers star.

Mizuhara entered his guilty plea Tuesday in federal court in Santa Ana, California. He changed his plea from not guilty, which was initially a procedural move. Mizuhara’s lawyer declined to comment outside the courthouse, according to The Associated Press.

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“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,” Mizuhara said in a brief statement.

Mizuhara exploited his relationship with Ohtani to steal millions from the player’s account for years and at times even impersonating Ohtani to bankers.

The ex-interpreter’s winning bets totaled over $142 million, which he put into his own bank account and not Ohtani’s. His losing bets were around $183 million. He did not bet on baseball.

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There was no indication Ohtani bet on baseball.

He pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud and one count of subscribing to a false tax return as part of a plea agreement. The bank fraud charge carries a maximum of 30 years in federal prison and the false tax return charge carries a sentence of up to three years in federal prison.

He was also ordered to pay Ohtani restitution that could total around $17 million and more than $1 million to the IRS.

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Mizuhara will be sentenced on Oct. 25.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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