Shohei Ohtani’s Interpreter Charged with Bank Fraud in Connection to $16 Million Gambling Debts

Shohei Ohtani’s interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara, has been charged with federal bank fraud after allegedly stealing over $16 million from Ohtani to cover his extensive sports betting debts. According to a criminal complaint released by federal prosecutors, Mizuhara lost more than $40 million through sports betting over a 26-month period, averaging approximately $12,800 per wager. The bets, ranging from $10 to $160,000, were placed between December 2021 and January 2024.

Investigations revealed that Mizuhara placed around 19,000 bets with an illegal bookmaker, winning a total of $142,256,769.74 but losing $182,935,206.68. Notably, there is no evidence of Mizuhara betting on baseball. The complaint includes messages exchanged between Mizuhara and the bookie, shedding light on his descent into significant debt.

In mid-November 2022, Mizuhara wrote, “I’m terrible at this sport betting thing huh? Lol… Any chance u can bump me again?? As you know, you don’t have to worry about me not paying!!” By June 2023, Mizuhara admitted, “I have a problem lol.” Seeking a way out of his mounting financial obligations, he wrote in mid-November 2023, “I’m gonna be honest, I ended up losing a lot of money on crypto the last couple years, and I took a huge hit obviously with the sports too… Just wanted to ask, is there any way we can settle on an amount? I’ve lost way too much on the site already… of course, I know it’s my fault.”

Previously, Mizuhara had been accused of stealing $4.5 million from Ohtani. U.S. Attorney Martin Estrada confirmed that Ohtani is now considered a victim in this case and has fully cooperated with the investigation. The New York Times reported that Mizuhara is currently in talks with federal authorities regarding a potential plea deal.

Author: CrimeDoor

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