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Ohtani's ex-interpreter charged with stealing $16 mil from baseball star in sports betting case

54 Comments
By STEFANIE DAZIO

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54 Comments
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Hopefully this guy won’t be 90% of the news in Japan in a few weeks. I’m sure he’s a lovely guy, but he’s never off the TV.

-5 ( +9 / -14 )

Mizuhara is in a world of trouble. Stealing $16 million from his boss is unforgivable. Biting the hand that feeds. He could be looking at 10 plus years inside.

“I am very saddened and shocked someone whom I trusted has done this,” the Japanese star said through a new interpreter.

I just hope this new interpreter has zero power or influence - and has been vetted thoroughly by the Dodgers.

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

If only we could get Ohtani off the TV...

-3 ( +13 / -16 )

While I believe the details of this story and know that Otani trusted Mizuhara explicitly, I know the press and many in the US will say that this is all a coverup to protect Otani.

16 ( +20 / -4 )

to finance his "insatiable appetite for illegal sports betting."

But whose "insatiable appetite" was financed?

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

While Mizuhara’s winning bets totaled over $142 million, which he deposited in his own bank account and not Ohtani's, his losing bets were around $183 million — a net loss of nearly $41 million.

If he didn't deposited any 9ml

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

@Fighto!--If you have followed this drama closely, you might know that the new interpreter Will Ireton is a longtime Dodgers hand who has worked in a variety of roles since way before Ohtani joined MLB. Vetting in his case should not be an issue, since swiping more of Ohtanis millions would be the unimaginable stupidity for a Dodgers insider.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

“Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence.”

0 ( +4 / -4 )

I’ll be the first to admit I was skeptical about Ohtani’s story. But I was wrong. He really was innocent and trusted his bilingual and amoral friend.

Im so glad that I was wrong. I’m really happy that there are people like Ohtani out there who can not only pitch and hit but can also live life with an open heart.

4 ( +11 / -7 )

If he didn't deposited any 9ml

to ohtani s acct then ohtani must have no knowledge indeed of mizuhara s betting.

But where did mizuhara get the rest to cover the shortfall? Net loss of 41 m less 16 he stole and whatever else unpaid means he was able to generate substantial funds from other means. He would have been well off if not for his gambling problem. Well , of course lots of others would be

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I just hope this new interpreter has zero power or influence - and has been vetted thoroughly by the Dodgers.

Ohtani has a wife now to take care of non-baseball issue and hopefully a few accountants too.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

No freaking way that much dosh went out of Ohtani's account unnoticed.

-4 ( +7 / -11 )

Yeah, Mamiko shall be entrusted with the bank accounts of millions of dollars henceforth no doubt - the thing that amuses me is how he has millions of dollars in cash sitting in a bank account… well, it was earning interest I guess (until ippei embezzled it).

You’d think with so much money these people would have some better financial advice. But perhaps this is not how it works for the mega rich sports stars.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

No freaking way that much dosh went out of Ohtani's account unnoticed.

Sports stars and celebrities rarely know exactly how much money they have. They usually let an accounting firm and asset management agents take care of their banking and investments.

In Ohtani’s case, he literally has no interest in money. When playing in Japan, his mom managed his finances, and when he moved to LA; Mr Mizuhara took the role of his mother.

If you watched the Angel’s YouTube channel, you’d see his teammates often tease him for driving his own “mom van” and cooking his own breakfast. In one video, Trout is saying “Sho, you make more money than all of us. What’s with the dorky car.”

11 ( +12 / -1 )

People act like something like this happens rarely. Tim Duncan lost money this way. John Elway, Usain Bolt, Kevin Garnett, etc. have all lost millions by trusting the wrong people. Even movie stars like Robert DeNiro have gotten money stolen from people they had wrongly trusted. It happens. It just underscores the fact that you need to use good judgement of who to trust.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

I can guarantee that the Department of Homeland Security and the IRS are not interested in covering up a crime for anyone, so what their report says has to be true. It doesn't matter if you're a nobody, or a famous athlete, they will investigate you thoroughly. The facts are all there in their 37-page report.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Rich CEOs and Capital investors, people who are experts on how money works, don’t even know the details of their finances, because most of it is managed by other people.

You can’t expect an athlete or celebrity to have the same level of financial literacy.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I can guarantee that the Department of Homeland Security and the IRS are not interested in covering up a crime for anyone

I agree. The IRS and DHS have put away much richer and influential people in the past for tax and financial crimes.

Sometimes it almost seems like they are intentionally targeting the top bracket to make a show of force and send a warning.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

One U.S. reporter speculated that this scandal could grow in time and that it's possible that Ippei was the fall guy and took one for the team. The reporter thought that the amount ($16M) was too much for just one man and he suspects that players on the team may have been involved in gambling, which would make the scandal even more scandalous.

Is Ippei taking one for the team?

-9 ( +3 / -12 )

Is Ippei taking one for the team?

And some people believe that U.S. election was rigged and that the earth is flat.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Living in the US for several years and still needing an interpreter... ? That's why I admire Imanaga even more, who chose not to have an interpreter and tried to survive the language barrier on his own.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Ohtani gave authority to use his bank account. Ohtani is an accomplice and has been requested to defame his interpreter to protect himself...

Just a puppet game....

-12 ( +1 / -13 )

I know for a fact that gambling can be a serious problem. it changes people. Once addicted, it drives people to great lengths and extremes to keep their addiction going. It's just as bad as drugs and alcohol, if not worse. So, I'm not so surprised that Mr. Mizuhara would do some of the things that he did. I just am surprised at how many bets he placed each day, and how much he wagered. Wow!

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Nah, I’m not buying this… (… still waiting for an official statement saying that Ohtani is an incredibly stupid, naive person who only got lucky in life because he’s good at baseball).

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

@Stormcrow - wasn't there a scandal with the Angels a few years ago where a staffer was involved in getting drugs for multiple players? While I'm very happy to see that Ohtani is innocent, I wonder if other players weren't funneling money through Ippei.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Living in the US for several years and still needing an interpreter... ? That's why I admire Imanaga even more, who chose not to have an interpreter and tried to survive the language barrier on his own.

How long have you lived in Japan, or any foreign country?

Would you feel confident to give press interviews and statements and deal with high stakes contract negotiations with your foreign language ability?

We know he speaks in English with his teammates, the terp is only for the media and management.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Lighter punishment if you keep Otanis name out of it as much as possible

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

@patkim

Is it really so hard for you to believe?

Stranger things have happened. If a player, such as Pete Rose, is caught gambling, especially in games they’re playing in, then they will become pariahs. They’re out! Ippei’s not a MLB player, so he has less to lose.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I can guarantee that the Department of Homeland Security and the IRS are not interested in covering up a crime for anyone, so what their report says has to be true. It doesn't matter if you're a nobody, or a famous athlete, they will investigate you thoroughly. The facts are all there in their 37-page report.

Well argued.

Yet we still have the usual suspects claiming - based purely on their "gut feeling" - that Mizuhara is a "fall guy", that there has been a "cover up" by the Dodgers organisation.

The authorities have investigated and charged Mizuhara NOT Ohtani.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Gambling addiction, like any other addiction is a disease. I hope he gets a break in the justice system and gets treatment.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Well there you go, it seems that Ohtani is completely innocent.

To celebrate this, I'm making a Spotify playlist of music by Japanese rock legends B'z. So far I've got "Bad Communication", "Easy Come, Easy Go" (Ohtani's money), and "Liar! Liar!". If anyone knows any other suitable tunes, just let me know!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Just as I said in a previous post this guy was his interpreter he was Ohtani mouth peace and I would not be surprised if he put language in the contract that suited his own personal interest. This guy was nothing but a fox guarding the chickens. I read and article that you could rare see them apart even on off days. Now I can see why this guy had to cover his own tracks. When he spoke to the dodgers he lied that’s what made me think about the paper trail no telling what Ohtani signed because he trusted this guy.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The road to redemption will be long and hard for this guy. He lost everything to his gambling addiction.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

He is facing thirty years. 16 Million embezzlement case.

Gambling may be an addiction. Many will want leniency. Not going to happen. If we were talking about a couple hundred thousand. Yeah maybe.

16 mill? He is going to prison. The level of deception and manipulation and what can be proven is mind blowing. And he has admitted to it. Open and shut case.

Otani should have nipped this in the rear on day one.

Some people have more money than sense, is all I can say (write).

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

It amuses me that the same people who believe this is some kind of conspiracy (and the interpreter is happy to ruin his life for his buddy Ohtani...) are the same ones who believe Russia's propaganda.

But whose "insatiable appetite" was financed?

> Nah, I’m not buying this…

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Again, I can't stress this enough: If there was any incriminating evidence on Ohtani, then the IRS, DHS, and Justice Department will find it and use it to bring in a big fish like him. They don't mess around and can't be bought. Just ask all those high-powered CEOs, celebrities, etc. who were investigated and caught.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

While Mizuhara’s winning bets totaled over $142 million, which he deposited in his own bank account and not Ohtani's, his losing bets were around $183 million — a net loss of nearly $41 million.

You would think if he wanted to be richer, Mizuhara would have been better off just stealing money from Ohtani's account and transferring it to his from the start instead of getting involved in betting in the first place...but...

Federal investigators say Mizuhara made around 19,000 wagers between December 2021 and January 2024 — nearly 25 bets per day on average. The wagers ranged from roughly $10 to $160,000 per bet, averaging around $12,800. Estrada said investigators did not find any evidence Mizuhara had wagered on baseball.

...averaging to 25 bets a day just shows how truly addicted Mizuhara was and how the whole thing snowballed as he got into more debt. It's all really sad.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

One U.S. reporter speculated that this scandal could grow in time and that it's possible that Ippei was the fall guy and took one for the team. The reporter thought that the amount ($16M) was too much for just one man and he suspects that players on the team may have been involved in gambling, which would make the scandal even more scandalous.

Is Ippei taking one for the team?

"One" is the key word here. Most reporters aren't dumb enough to accuse Ohtani when all the evidence points away from him. Why some people want to believe "one" reporter, I'm not sure. But as mentioned, there is a whole group of people that honestly think the earth is flat.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Ohtani is from a small town in Tohoku and ever since he was a boy, all he thought about and did was baseball. Even today, we hear that he's still the same: baseball, sleep, eat, baseball, rinse and repeat. He doesn't sound like he's well versed or interested in many things that most are. Very sheltered life so not surprising quite naive and unware of many things. I don't find it hard to believe that he was clueless about money siphoning out of his bank account. I think he's clueless about many things as he's only focused on baseball.....and now...his wife.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

"...averaging to 25 bets a day just shows how truly addicted Mizuhara was and how the whole thing snowballed as he got into more debt. It's all really sad."

An excellent posting by JT poster 'himawari23'. Twenty-five wagers every day is equivalent to 2 or 3 bets every hour, after deducting time spent for daily necessities such as sleeping. The immediate accessibility to sports betting afforded by the internet, and more specifically afforded by THE **UBIQUITOUS STUPIDPHONE** must come under the microscope of inspection. If Mr Mizuhara had not owned an KEITAI telephone (difficult to imagine) then he would not have succumbed to this easy gambling seductive siren...

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Since Ohtani gave this guy access to his bank account for years, that makes him complicit in the scandal; like a person driving a getaway car is just as guilty as the person who robs a bank.

Sure, MlB will broom this because he’s too big of a cash cow, but the stink of being linked to illegal gambling already has and will follow Ohtani for the rest of his baseball career and his life.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

 If Mr Mizuhara had not owned an KEITAI telephone (difficult to imagine) then he would not have succumbed to this easy gambling seductive siren...

Difficult to imagine, so why mention it?

And Mizuhara actually met the scummy bookie in person, so this is different than an average Joe placing some bets on their phone.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Since Ohtani gave this guy access to his bank account for years, that makes him complicit in the scandal; like a person driving a getaway car is just as guilty as the person who robs a bank.

Sure, MlB will broom this because he’s too big of a cash cow, but the stink of being linked to illegal gambling already has and will follow Ohtani for the rest of his baseball career and his life.

You saying it over and over again won't make it true.

If your money is stolen you aren't complicit in anything it was used for. That is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard.

And what do Homeland Security and IRS have to do with MLB? Do you think they work for MLB? Please don't waste space on this page with your nonsense.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Homeland security is part of immigration,this guy face Deportation back to Japan,if convicted,this guy is not dumb,he pull off this off scheme,made 100 of millions dollars,all this money going out of his account, should of been flagged ,bank teller could drain you dry,they only need and deposit slip

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

therougou,

You conveniently forget how this whole event started: that Mizuhara admitted to a U.S. sports channel that Ohtani paid his gambling debts, only to do an about face the very next day. Yes, yes, I get it: You live your life vicariously through Ohtani. Unfortunately for you, Mizuhara confessed that Say It Ain’t So, Sho was linked to his illegal gambling. Can’t unring that bell.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Confessed, or concocted a story to make the situation sound less illegal? What for you makes Mizuhara the one whose word we should believe? He spoke to ESPN, and that makes his story unimpeachable?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

You believe the first thing said by the guy being accused of stealing his friend's money, over the FBI? Lol

You conveniently forget how this whole event started: that Mizuhara admitted to a U.S. sports channel that Ohtani paid his gambling debts, only to do an about face the very next day. Yes, yes, I get it: You live your life vicariously through Ohtani. Unfortunately for you, Mizuhara confessed that Say It Ain’t So, Sho was linked to his illegal gambling. Can’t unring that bell.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Confessed, or concocted a story to make the situation sound less illegal? What for you makes Mizuhara the one whose word we should believe?

Do you have any actual evidence Ohtani wasn't the victim? Otherwise you're just spitting out conspiracy theories, and getting angry because people haven't bought into them with your "logic" that you can't believe just one person and therefore Ohtani isn't the victim...

4 ( +4 / -0 )

First of we are all internet reporters where we read about a small town boy who loved baseball and became a grown man who has always ate and slept baseball. Money was never important to him from what I have read and personally seen he comes from a small town in Japan money did not make him nor did it change him. I am saying this based on accounts from what I have read and what people from his home town has said that watched him grow into the person he is today. Here you have a guy with a squeaky clean image who doesn’t understand what all the fuss is about his own money that he made and have no account of where it’s going. I said from day one the guy who had the voice is the crook he is the interpreter he sees and knows everything Ohtani does yes he is a Japanese American one who took advantage of a small town boy/man and used his urban street knowledge to enrich himself through deception. In Japan they say it’s hard to find friends I am only assuming it took sometime for ohtani to trust such a guy with basically his life. People can say what they want to say but my perception of ohtani is a guy who could careless about the money he is a guy that loves doing what he do best and that is playing baseball and being good at it. Here’s a guy who only makes people around him better it’s obvious when he was on the Angels his team mates asked him Sho why are you driving your moms old van you make more money than us ohtani shrugged it off. Here you have many people saying there is no way Ohtani didn’t know about what was going on I would say it’s those people who are far away from knowing his life style background and where he came from. Logic tells me if they read about his background prior to making an assumption I am sure perhaps they would have a change of mind. I am saying this based on first hand knowledge I am a baseball scout and we scout out all the players I watch this guy his habits from the dug out to the field his routine is the same clock work. He is a creature of habit. I have seen him out many times in Newport Beach nothing flashy now if you really want to ask a question that is, ask when is this guy going to change? His character and persona is very calm I personally don’t think he knows how big his star is because he just says I’m ohtani!! Small town guy just having fun living my baseball life.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

"First of [sic] we are all internet reporters"

You may speak for yourself.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

How much money must you be making to not notice that 16 mill is missing?

Nice, Shohei!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

They read thousands of text messages and phone calls between Shohei and Ippei, and not once was there any mention of gambling or betting in any form whatsoever. It should also be noted that when Shohei arrived from Japan, it was Ippei who set up the bank account for Shohei, so of course, Ippei had access to his pin codes and could easily access his account. Ippei also made it so that Shohei would not receive any notifications of that account. Of course, Shohei had access to his other bank account or accounts; probably where he received money from endorsements, etc. But the one in which he received his salary was in total control by Ippei.

We should also remember that throughout this whole investigation, Shohei has cooperated fully with the IRS, DOJ, and DHS by surrendering all his phones, computers, etc. and answering any and all questions they have had. Still, they were able to find nothing related to any form of gambling whatsoever. Yet, I'm surprised (maybe I shouldn't be), that there are still those who would rather believe that the DOJ, IRS, and DHS are in cahoots with MLB to cover all of this up and make Ippei the fall guy. Some people still can't get it into their heads that the Feds don't compromise. They just don't. If it was purely a MLB investigation, then I can understand it could be a conspiracy, but not when it becomes a federal investigation.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Ippei is facing up to 30 years in federal prison if convicted.

There are people doing less time than that for murder.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

You conveniently forget how this whole event started: that Mizuhara admitted to a U.S. sports channel that Ohtani paid his gambling debts, only to do an about face the very next day. Yes, yes, I get it: You live your life vicariously through Ohtani. Unfortunately for you, Mizuhara confessed that Say It Ain’t So, Sho was linked to his illegal gambling. Can’t unring that bell.

And now it was proven that Mizuhara lied, so he wouldn't have to admit he stole millions of dollars. How hard is that to understand? And no, I hardly follow baseball, but you must be quite obsessed to keep posting your conspiracy theories despite all the hard evidence.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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