Prosecutors Say Ohtani’s Interpreter Stole $16 Million From Star

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The interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara, was charged with bank fraud, after prosecutors said he stole money to pay his gambling debts.

Federal prosecutors released a detailed complaint on Thursday that claimed Ippei Mizuhara, the former interpreter for Shohei Ohtani, orchestrated a sprawling scheme over years to steal $16 million of the baseball star’s money to feed his gambling addiction.

The money that Mizuhara took from Ohtani came directly from an account where Ohtani’s baseball salary was paid, the authorities said. There is no indication that Mizuhara bet on baseball, they said.

“There’s no indication Mr. Ohtani authorized the $16 million from his account to the bookmakers,” said E. Martin Estrada, the U.S. attorney for the Central District of California.

The authorities charged Mizuhara with bank fraud.

“Mr. Mizuhara committed fraud on a massive scale,” Estrada said.

The release of the complaint comes a day after The New York Times reported that Mizuhara’s lawyer and federal prosecutors were negotiating a plea deal, that Ohtani had been interviewed by the authorities and that prosecutors had uncovered evidence Mizuhara stole more than the $4.5 million he was initially accused of taking.

Mizuhara will be arraigned in federal court in Los Angeles as soon as Friday. He is expected to enter a not guilty plea, a formal step that will take place as federal prosecutors and his lawyer, Michael Freedman, continue to negotiate a deal.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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