Shohei Ohtani’s Ex-Interpreter Agrees to Plead Guilty to Illegally Transferring $17 Million 

Ippei Mizuhara has agreed to plead guilty to one count of bank fraud and one count of subscribing to a false tax return

Ippei Mizuhara, the former interpreter of Los Angeles Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani, has agreed to plead guilty to transferring nearly $17 million from the player to cover gambling debts, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Wednesday.

The 39-year-old interpreter pleaded guilty to two federal charges including one count of bank fraud and one count of subscribing to a false tax return, which has a statutory maximum sentence of 30 years in federal prison and a sentence of up to three years in federal prison, respectively.

“The extent of this defendant’s deception and theft is massive,” said United States Attorney Martin Estrada in a statement. “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.”

IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Tyler Hatcher said that Mizuhara “exploited his relationship with Mr. Ohtani to bankroll his own irresponsibility.”

In March, lawyers for Ohtani accused Mizuhara of stealing millions of dollars from the athlete to cover bets with an alleged illegal bookmaker under federal investigation. 


The following month, the interpreter was charged with bank fraud after allegedly stealing $16 million from his former employer. The federal complaint said that Mizuhara placed around 19,000 wagers between December 2021 and January 2024, and that he won around $142 million on these wagers while losing around $182 million — meaning he was around $40 million in the hole. The complaint added that the records did not indicate any bets on baseball games.

Mizuhara is expected to formally enter a plea of guilty to the charges in the coming weeks. His arraignment is set for May 14.