Ex-Interpreter Accused of Stealing $16M from Dodgers' Shohei Ohtani: DOJ Claims

MLB Star's Interpreter Faces Charges in Fraud Scandal.

by Nouman Rasool
Ex-Interpreter Accused of Stealing $16M from Dodgers' Shohei Ohtani: DOJ Claims
© David Berding/Getty Images

Shohei Ohtani's former interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara, now faces federal charges of having allegedly embezzled more than $16 million from the Los Angeles Dodgers' superstar to finance illegal betting activities. The Department of Justice detailed the charges in a release on Thursday, pointing to a breach of trust and large-scale fraudulent activities by Mizuhara.

Appointed as Ohtani's interpreter since the time the player was with the Angels and later with the Dodgers, Mizuhara was entrusted with assisting Ohtani, who does not speak fluent English, for his setting up his own bank accounts for his financial management.

U.S. Attorney Martin Estrada said Mizuhara exploited the position to siphon millions from Ohtani's account between November 2021 and January 2024, for debts said to have been cushioned from gambling. Estrada pointed out the fact that it looks like Ohtani had neither knowledge nor participation in the illegal deal.

The money changed hands in a couple of unauthorized wire transfers, and Mizuhara is charged for purportedly pretending to be Ohtani in communications with the bank in order to send out the said wire transfers.

Betrayal at the Top

Investigators have traced the activities of a trusted insider who took advantage of the position for self-gain.

The investigation is conducted by the IRS Criminal Investigation and Homeland Security Investigations. Estrada said it was betrayal at the highest level. He further said that Mizuhara had not only breached his personal trust but also raised serious legal implications.

Mizuhara is expected to surrender to federal authorities and make his first court appearance in Los Angeles. He faces a potential 30-year prison sentence if convicted of bank fraud. The Dodgers then let go of Mizuhjson, and Major Major League Baseball is looking at what more to do going forward.

It was a scandal that the hit Ohtani felt to the maximum degree. He spoke to the press in shock and with sadness from the betrayal of a person in whom he had given great trust. Sincerely, he denied any involvement in betting activities, insisting on his integrity in sports.

Keep supporting the organization while Ohtani is having a rough go, but keep the focus on the season ahead. Being on the field, he's resilient. Ohtani is not pitching yet as he recovers from elbow surgery but has been able to give the team some contribution by batting .333, including three home runs and eight RBIs.