Shocking Scandal: Ohtani’s Interpreter Stole $16M to Pay Off Massive Gambling Debts!

The shocking scandal involving Shohei Ohtani’s longtime interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara, has sent shockwaves through the baseball world. Federal authorities have charged Mizuhara with bank fraud after discovering he allegedly transferred more than $16 million from Ohtani’s account to an illegal sports book to pay off his massive gambling debts.

U.S. Attorney Martin Estrada announced the charges in a Los Angeles court, stating, “The bets do not appear to have been made on the sport of baseball.” The illegal transfers took place between 2021 and 2024.

The complaint reveals the staggering scale of Mizuhara’s gambling addiction, with nearly 19,000 wagers placed between December 2021 and January 2024, averaging about 25 bets per day. The wagers ranged from $10 to $160,000 per bet, with total losing bets amounting to $182.9 million and net losses of $40.7 million.

Mizuhara’s control over Ohtani’s finances allowed him to transfer funds without the superstar’s knowledge or consent. Despite earning a hefty salary of $300,000 to $500,000 annually as Ohtani’s interpreter, Mizuhara’s gambling addiction drove him to steal from the player he had worked closely with for six years.

Text messages included in the complaint reveal Mizuhara’s desperate pleas for more credit from his bookmaker, as well as his admission of guilt. In a message exchange on March 20, 2024, Mizuhara acknowledged that he had technically stolen from Ohtani, stating, “it’s all over for me.”

The Los Angeles Dodgers have fired Mizuhara following the allegations, and both the team and the MLB have declined to comment on the situation. As the legal proceedings unfold, the baseball community is left to grapple with the betrayal of trust and the far-reaching consequences of one man’s gambling addiction.

You can read the full shocking complaint here.

Massive Gambling Debts and Bets

Two crucial elements from the complaint against Ippei Mizuhara highlight the scale of his alleged gambling addiction.

First, the size of his bets and the debt he incurred were massive, with losing bets totaling nearly $183 million, winning bets of more than $142 million, and net losses of $40.7 million.

Second, there were no bets placed on baseball games.

Staggering Betting Records

Betting StatisticsValues
Total WagersApproximately 19,000
Time PeriodDecember 2021 – January 2024
Average Wagers per DayNearly 25
Average Wager AmountAbout $12,800
Largest WagerAbout $160,000
Smallest WagerAbout $10
Total Winning Bets$142,256,769.74
Total Losing Bets$182,935,206.68
Net Losses$40,678,436.94

Mizuhara’s Admission of Guilt

In a damning text message exchange, Ippei Mizuhara admitted to stealing from Shohei Ohtani.

On March 20, 2024, Mizuhara messaged “BOOKMAKER 1,” asking, “Have you seen the reports?” The bookmaker responded, “Yes, but that’s all bullshit. Obviously you didn’t steal from him. I understand it’s a cover job I totally get it.” Mizuhara then replied, “Technically I did steal from him. it’s all over for me.”

Frequency and Range of Bets

According to the complaint, Ippei Mizuhara’s gambling account placed approximately 19,000 wagers between December 2021 and January 2024, averaging nearly 25 bets per day. The wagers ranged in value from about $10 to $160,000 per bet, with an average bet amount of roughly $12,800.

Mizuhara’s Desperate Pleas for More Credit

Text messages reveal Ippei Mizuhara’s desperate attempts to continue gambling despite his mounting losses.

On November 14, 2022, Mizuhara messaged “BOOKMAKER 1,” stating, “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!!”

This message highlights Mizuhara’s addiction and his willingness to risk Ohtani’s money to feed his habit.

Mizuhara’s Control Over Ohtani’s Finances

According to Estrada, Ippei Mizuhara set up the bank account for Shohei Ohtani and had exclusive access to it, effectively denying access to Ohtani’s representatives and financial advisors.

This allowed Mizuhara to transfer funds from Ohtani’s account without the superstar’s knowledge or consent.

Interpreter’s High Salary

Despite allegedly stealing millions from Ohtani, Ippei Mizuhara was earning a hefty salary himself. ESPN reported that Mizuhara was paid between $300,000 and $500,000 annually to serve as an English translator for the native Japanese speaker during his six years with the MLB.

This salary is significantly higher than the average pay for interpreters and translators, which was $53,640 per year or $25.79 per hour in 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Mizuhara’s Close Relationship with Ohtani

Ippei Mizuhara had been standing alongside Shohei Ohtani for the entirety of the 29-year-old phenom’s six years in MLB before being fired. Mizuhara once told The Athletic, “I’m with him all offseason, too. I’m with him 365 days of the year, which I think is different than the other interpreters.”

This close relationship allowed Mizuhara to gain Ohtani’s trust and allegedly exploit it for his own financial gain.

Dodgers and MLB Response

The Los Angeles Dodgers fired Ippei Mizuhara following the allegations of theft. The team has been inundated with applications from prospective replacements for the interpreter role. Both the MLB and the Dodgers have declined to comment on the situation.

Reactions from Reddit Users

User “nepats523” pointed out the bookmaker’s threatening message to Mizuhara, which read, “I don’t know why you’re not returning my calls. I’m here in Newport Beach and I see [Ohtani] walking his dog. I’m just gonna go up and talk to him and ask how I can get in touch with you since you’re not responding? Please call me back immediately.”

The user humorously added, “Lmao zero percent chance he didn’t actually literally sh*t his pants after reading that,” emphasizing the gravity of the situation Mizuhara found himself in.

“Clemenx00” commented on the premeditated nature of Mizuhara’s actions, stating, “Winnings going to his accounts and loses coming from Ohtani? This seems to be a well thought out fraud rather than someone suddenly falling victim of his addiction. F*ck that dude.”

This comment underscores the belief that Mizuhara’s actions were calculated and deliberate rather than a result of a sudden gambling addiction.

User “TizonaBlu” expressed their initial reaction to the news, saying, “This went from me being gleeful and telling r/baseball to shove it, to me being f*cking angry. Like this dude literally ROBBED Shohei. I can’t believe this sh*t, coming from someone who’s likely his best friend.”

This comment encapsulates the emotional rollercoaster many fans experienced as the story unfolded, from initial disbelief to anger and disappointment.

Finally, user “Adventurous-Rise7975” highlighted the fortunate timing of the federal investigation, stating, “The craziest thing is that we are lucky the feds were investigating this particular bookmaker. If they hadn’t been, Ippei would be able to keep stealing from Ohtani probably until the end of his career. Imagine how much that might have added up to?”

This comment raises the question of how long Mizuhara’s alleged theft could have continued if not for the ongoing investigation into the illegal bookmaking operation.

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