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Source: JUNG YEON-JE / Getty


Shohei Ohtani‘s former interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara, has pled guilty to charges related to stealing nearly $17 million from the Angels starsn.

The official charges include two counts of bank fraud and falsifying a tax return, which were part of a plea deal reached with prosecutors last month in a federal courthouse in Orange County, California.

Mizuhara has worked for Ohtani since 2018, when he left Japan to play for the Los Angeles Dodgers. But it wasn’t until 2021 that he started gambling and became so in debt that he dipped into Ohtani’s accounts to pay off what he owed. According to NPR, he got so desperate that he even impersonated him on phone calls to give himself easier access to Ohtani’s wealth.

He currently faces up to 33 years, and despite the initial ESPN report, it appears all the blame will be placed on him.

At first, ESPN’s chain of events said that Ohtani was aware of the wire transfers of at least $4.5 million to a California bookmaking operation. Then, when ESPN attempted to publish that story, Mizujara recanted his story, and Ohtani’s team said he didn’t know about the gambling debt.

“Whether he chose to go to trial or pleaded guilty, we were confident that the evidence would ultimately show Mr. Mizuhara victimized Mr. Ohtani,” said Martin Estrada, the U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California, who spoke to reporters after the hearing.

Now, after having placed around 19,000 bets over a few years, prosecutors are blaming it all on Mizuhara, given evidence showing his electronic devices and IP addresses showing up in the wire transfers, on top of Ohtani’s bank records having Mizuhara’s cell number attached to them.

“I’m terrible at this sport betting thing huh? Lol,” he reportedly texted a bookmaker in November 2022, and by 2023 he was reportedly transferring upwards of $500,000 a week to cover his debts.

See how social media is reacting to Mizuhara’s guilty plea below.

Shohei Ohtani’s Former Interpreter Ippei Mizuhara Faces Up To 33 Years In Prison After Guilty Plea  was originally published on cassiuslife.com

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