Ippei Mizuhara sports betting case: Shohei Ohtani interpreter pleads guilty

US Court Alerts

As an interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara was supposed to bridge the gap between baseball star Shohei Ohtani and his English-speaking teammates and fans as the duo traveled from Southern California to ballparks across the U.S.

Instead, Mizuhara exploited the Japanese-English language barrier to isolate Ohtani and profit, in the truest sense, from his proximity to the two-way player ‘s power. On Tuesday, the ex-interpreter pleaded guilty in federal court in Santa Ana, California, to bank and tax fraud for stealing nearly $17 million from the unsuspecting athlete’s Arizona bank account.

He spent the money to cover his growing gambling bets and debts with an illegal bookmaker, plus $325,000 worth of baseball cards and, to the shock of prosecutors, his own medical bills.

“In fact, after we announced the charges, we only discovered more fraud in this case,” said Martin Estrada, U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California. “We discovered Mr. Mizuhara had victimized Mr. Ohtani to the extent that he wouldn’t even pay for dental. He stole money from Mr. Ohtani to pay for his own dental expenses.”

The case involved arguably the world’s most famous baseball player and the sport’s most valuable voice. Despite the international media frenzy, Tuesday’s 45-minute proceeding was fairly mundane: Ohtani was known as “Victim A” inside the courtroom and the ex-interpreter only spoke to acknowledge his guilt.

The case involved arguably the world’s most famous baseball player and the sport’s most valuable voice. Despite the international media frenzy, Tuesday’s 45-minute proceeding was fairly mundane: Ohtani was known as “Victim A” inside the courtroom and the ex-interpreter only spoke to acknowledge his guilt.

“I worked for Victim A and had access to his bank account and had fallen into major gambling debt,” Mizuhara told the judge. “I went ahead and wired money … with his bank account.”

He and his attorney declined to comment after the hearing.

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A divorce in Ohio is filed when there is typically “fault” by one of the parties and party not at “fault” seeks to end the marriage. A court in Ohio may grant a divorce for the following reasons:
• Willful absence of the adverse party for one year
• Adultery
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