Ohtani's Ex-Interpreter Ordered to Get Treatment

Judge sets Ippei Mizuhara's bond conditions
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 11, 2024 4:00 PM CDT
Updated Apr 13, 2024 5:30 AM CDT
Ohtani's Interpreter Charged With Theft of $16M
US Attorney Martin Estrada, center, announces charges against the former longtime interpreter for Los Angeles Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani during a news conference Thursday in Los Angeles.   (AP Photo/Ryan Sun)
UPDATE Apr 13, 2024 5:30 AM CDT

Shohei Ohtani's former interpreter was on Friday ordered to undergo treatment for gambling addiction. A judge ordered Ippei Mizuhara released on an unsecured $25,000 bond, and the treatment is required as part of his bond conditions. He is also not allowed to gamble, enter gambling establishments, associate with known bookmakers, or contact any victim or witness in the case, the AP reports. Mizuhara's lawyer said his client hopes to "reach an agreement with the government to resolve this case as quickly as possible so that he can take responsibility." Also Friday, Ohtani told the Los Angeles Times he is "very grateful for the Department of Justice's investigation."

Apr 11, 2024 4:00 PM CDT

Ippei Mizuhara, who served as interpreter for Shohei Ohtani, has been charged with stealing more than $16 million from the Dodgers superstar to pay gambling debts. "Mr. Ohtani is considered a victim in this case," US Attorney E. Martin Estrada said Thursday in announcing the charges in Los Angeles. The prosecutor said Mizuhara, who was fired last month, impersonated the Japanese star when speaking with bank officials, the Los Angeles Times reports. The interpreter placed bets and put his winnings in a bank account he controlled, officials said, and made payments to an illegal bookmaker. "Mr. Mizuhara did all this to feed his insatiable appetite for illegal sports gambling," Estrada said.

Ohtani, who signed a $700 million contract with the Dodgers in December, has said he didn't know this was going on, and prosecutors said there's no evidence to dispute that. Under sentencing guidelines, per ESPN, the federal count of bank fraud could result in a fine of up to $1 million and as much as 30 years in prison if Mizuhara is convicted. The interpreter reportedly is negotiating terms of a plea deal, which could help him avoid the maximum sentence, per the New York Times. He's due in court Friday for arraignment.

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The federal complaint says Mizuhara placed an average of 25 bets per day between December 2021 and January 2024. It lists total winnings of $142 million and total losses of $183 million over that period, "leaving a total net balance of negative $40,678,436." The bookmaker was not named in the complaint, per ESPN. The affidavit quotes a text from the interpreter to the bookmaker at one point asking for more credit, saying, "As you know, you don't have to worry about me not paying!!" (More Shohei Ohtani stories.)

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