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Mizuhara to Plead Guilty for Stealing From Ohtani

By May 8, 2024No Comments

The Justice Department announced today that ex-Dodgers employee Ippei Mizuhara has agreed to plead guilty to one count of bank fraud and for signing a false tax return. He had served as the interpreter for and de facto manager of Dodgers player Shohei Ohtani, from whom Mizuhara was alleged to have illegally transferred nearly $17 million from the Major Leaguer’s bank account to pay off huge gambling debts.

Mizuhara, 39, whose arraignment is scheduled for May 14, is expected to enter a plea of guilty to the charges in United States District Court in the coming weeks.

According to the Justice Department, the Newport Beach, Calif., resident “regularly interacted with Ohtani’s sports agents and financial advisors – who did not speak Japanese – on behalf of Ohtani, who did not speak English.”

“The extent of this defendant’s deception and theft is massive,” said United States Attorney Martin Estrada. “He took advantage of his position of trust to take advantage of Mr. Ohtani and fuel a dangerous gambling habit.”

“Our joint investigation with Homeland Security Investigations clearly showed Mr. Mizuhara not only stole from Mr. Ohtani, but also that he lied to the IRS about his income,” said Special Agent in Charge Tyler Hatcher, IRS Criminal Investigation, Los Angeles Field Office.

Bank fraud carries a statutory maximum sentence of 30 years in federal prison. Subscribing to a false tax return carries a sentence of up to three years in federal prison.