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Shohei Ohtani’s Interpreter in Custody After Bank Fraud Charges

Updated:2024-05-02 22:21    Views:193

Shohei Ohtani’s former best friend and interpreter Ippei Mizuhara is in federal custody after being charged with bank fraud.

Mizuhara is accused of stealing over $16 million from Ohtani’s bank account in order to pay back over $40 million in sports betting losses, a federal complaint said.

The losses encompass a total of roughly 19,000 wagers, with an average bet sizing of just under $13,000. Mizuhara never engaged in betting on baseball, primarily focusing on soccer, basketball and other sports in which he amassed a net loss of $40.7 million.

At one point, Mizuhara even sent a text to his alleged bookmaker Mathew Bowyer stating, "I'm terrible at this sports betting thing huh? Lol."

In all, the texts between Mizuhara and his bookmaker indicate a devolution in mental health and an increasing sense of desperation from Ohtani’s confidant as his sports betting losses mounted.

The charges substantiate Ohtani’s claim from the beginning that he had zero knowledge about the fund transfers, nor did he participate in any sports betting endeavor.

The initial murkiness regarding the story can be traced back to the fact that most of the official correspondence from Ohtani’s camp came from Mizuhara, who served as the superstar’s English language source.

Mizuhara faces a maximum fine of $1 million and 30 years in prison. He is not expected to enter a plea during a hearing scheduled for Friday at 4 p.m.

After the proceeding on Friday, an arraignment date will be held.

Mizuhara had been one of Ohtani’s closest confidants, spending nearly every waking second during the MLB season with the two-way superstar. The former interpreter would drive Ohtani to all engagements and even occasionally cook his meals.

The two’s relationship had dated back over a decade to Ohtani’s time with the Nippon Ham Fighters.

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