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Ippei Mizuhara accepts plea deal in Shohei Ohtani fraud case

Ippei Mizuhara at a press conference

Dec 14, 2023; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Ippei Mizuhara, the translator for Los Angeles Dodgers designated hitter Shohei Ohtani, during an introductory press conference at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Shohei Ohtani’s former interpreter Ippei Mizuhara has accepted a plea deal in the case involving bank fraud and tax fraud.

Mizuhara, who was alleged to have stolen millions of dollars from Ohtani in order to pay off illegal gambling debts, will plead guilty to charges of bank fraud and subscribing to a false tax return. The deal likely means Mizuhara will face a much more limited prison sentence than he could have otherwise.

Typically, Mizuhara would face between 87 and 108 months in federal prison. Meghann Cuniff of the Washington Post noted that prosecutors did not make a sentencing recommendation, which could lead to an even lighter sentence depending on a judge’s decision.

Mizuhara went to great lengths to access Ohtani’s money and steal it without Ohtani’s knowledge. The former interpreter made a fairly damning admission in text messages obtained by prosecutors, and was probably very happy to cooperate and take a plea deal in exchange for a more lenient sentence.

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