Ohtani's Ex-Interpreter Mizuhara Pleads Guilty to Fraud


Santa Ana, California, June 4 (Jiji Press)--Ippei Mizuhara, a former interpreter for Major League Baseball star Shohei Ohtani, pleaded guilty to bank and tax fraud in a federal court in Santa Ana, California, on Tuesday.

The 39-year-old's sentencing is set for Oct. 25.

"I had fallen into major gambling debt," Mizuhara said. "The only thing I could think was using (Ohtani's) money to help pay for the debt."

Mizuhara could face a statutory sentence of up to 33 years in prison for the two charges, but federal prosecutors are expected to ask for a lighter sentence after reaching a plea deal with him.

According to the indictment, Mizuhara illegally transferred around 17 million dollars from Ohtani's bank account between November 2021 and March 2024 to pay his debts from illegal gambling. He also failed to report 4.1 million dollars of his illegal earnings in his 2022 tax return.

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Jiji Press