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Ippei Mizuhara In Talks To Plead Guilty To Federal Charge

 Leif Skodnick  |    Apr 11th, 2024 10:12am EDT

Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Dodgers talks with interpreter Ippei Mizuhara during an exhibition game between Team Korea and Los Angeles Dodgers at Gocheok Sky Dome on March 18, 2024, in Seoul, South Korea. Mizuhara allegedly stole millions of dollars from Ohtani to repay illegal gambling debts and was fired by the Dodgers. (Photo by Masterpress/Getty Images)

The New York Times reported late Wednesday evening that Ippei Mizuhara, the former translator for Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Shohei Ohtani, is in talks with federal prosecutors to plead guilty to charges relating to his alleged theft of millions from the Japanese pitcher to pay off illegal gambling debts.

The Times reported that a federal investigation into Mizuhara revealed that he had allegedly stolen more than the $4.5 million that was initially reported to have been stolen from Ohtani’s accounts and that Mizuhara reportedly took steps to limit notifications of financial transfers from Ohtani’s accounts to conceal his actions further.

There are no charges currently pending against Mizuhara.

A quick guilty plea could potentially spare Mizuhara a lengthy prison sentence because federal prosecutors and judges are often more lenient to defendants who admit wrongdoing, thus preserving judicial and investigative resources.

Mizuhara’s alleged theft was revealed last month when the Dodgers were in Seoul, South Korea, to open the season against the San Diego Padres. After reporters began asking about wire transfers from Ohtani’s accounts that had been uncovered in an investigation into a southern California sports gambling ring, Mizuhara told the team that he had a gambling addiction and that Ohtani had paid off his gambling debts.

“I never bet on baseball or any other sports or never have asked somebody to do that on my behalf,” Ohtani said at a press conference on April 10. “And I have never went through a bookmaker to bet on sports. Up until a couple days ago, I didn’t know this was happening.”

The Dodgers fired Mizuhara before the team left South Korea.

According to the New York Times report, Mizuhara is represented by Los Angeles attorney Michael Freedman.