Skip to main content


Ippei Mizuhara Enters Guilty Pleas to Bank and Tax Fraud Charges

The former interpreter for Los Angeles Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani is set to be charged on Oct. 25 and faces up to 33 years in prison.

Ippei Mizuhara, the former interpreter for the Los Angeles Dodgers' Shohei Ohtani, arrives at federal court in Santa Ana on Tuesday, June 4, 2024. (Photo by Paul Bersebach, Orange County Register/SCNG)

By Bill Plunkett, The Orange County Register (TNS)

Shohei Ohtani’s former interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara, entered guilty pleas to bank and tax fraud charges in federal court Tuesday morning. Mizuhara is set to be charged on Oct. 25.

With that, MLB announced that its investigation of Ohtani’s involvement in Mizuhara’s gambling has concluded and Ohtani has been cleared of any wrongdoing.

“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,” MLB said in a statement released Tuesday.

In a statement released by his representatives, Ohtani said Tuesday’s “full admission of guilt” by Mizuhara has “brought important closure to me and my family.”

“This has been a uniquely challenging time, so I am especially grateful for my support team – my family, agent, agency, lawyers, and advisors along with the entire Dodger organization, who showed endless support throughout this process,” Ohtani said in the statement.

“It’s time to close this chapter, move on and continue to focus on playing and winning ballgames.”

Mizuhara’s guilty pleas are part of a plea agreement he reached with federal authorities. The maximum sentences for the felony bank fraud and tax evasion charges would be 33 years in prison but prosecutors are expected to recommend a reduced sentence as part of the plea deal. Mizuhara has also agreed to pay full restitution to Ohtani for a total of $16,975, 010.

MIzuhara’s gambling addiction first came to light in March when he admitted to a gambling addiction and told ESPN reporters that Ohtani had agreed to help him pay off his debts. Mizuhara confessed during a team meeting following the Dodgers’ season-opening game in South Korea.

Mizuhara was fired by the Dodgers the next day when it became apparent he was not telling the truth. Federal investigators corroborated that Ohtani was unaware of Mizuhara’s financial moves and uninvolved in his friend’s gambling.

“Mr. Mizuhara exploited his relationship with Mr. Ohtani to bankroll his own irresponsibility,” the IRS special agent involved in the investigation said in a statement after Mizuhara was charged.

Speaking briefly during Tuesday’s court proceedings, Mizuhara acknowledged his guilt.

“I worked for (Ohtani) and I had access to his accounts,” Mizuhara said in court. “I fell into gambling debt, and the only way I could think of (to get out of debt) was to access his money. I wired money for my gambling debt from his account.”

The investigation of Mizuhara’s gambling activity found that he had made winning bets totaling $142 million but losing bets totaling $183 million. He was not found to have bet on baseball at any point.

In a detailed statement on March 25, Ohtani asserted that he “never bet on or placed bets on someone else’s behalf on any sporting event.”

“I’m very saddened and shocked that someone who I trusted has done this,” Ohtani said through his new interpreter, Will Ireton.

The Dodgers also released a statement Tuesday following MLB announcing it had closed its investigation of Ohtani.

“With today’s plea in the criminal proceedings against Ippei Mizuhara and the conclusion of both federal and MLB investigations, the Dodgers are pleased that Shohei and the team can put this entire matter behind them and move forward in pursuit of a World Series title,” the statement said.


©2024 MediaNews Group, Inc. Visit Distributed by Tribune Content Agency LLC.