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Shohei Ohtani's ex-interpreter agrees to plead guilty to bank fraud and tax charge

The Department of Justice said on Wednesday that Shohei Ohtani's ex-interpreter has agreed to plead guilty to two federal charges for illegally transferring almost $17 million from the baseball star's bank account.

Ippei Mizuhara, 39, of Newport Beach, has agreed to plead guilty to one count of bank fraud and one count of subscribing to a false tax return. The bank fraud charge carries a possible prison term of up to 30 years in prison. The tax charge carries up to three years.

Ohtani accused Mizuhara of massive theft in March, leading to a federal investigation. It was determined that Mizuhara set up a bank account for Ohtani's baseball salary deposits, had full access, and even impersonated Ohtani to swindle funds from the account.

The Dodgers fired Mizuhara soon after news of the criminal investigation broke. 

The investigation found that since 2021, Mizuhara had made thousands of sports wagers, but not on baseball.

While questions lingered if Ohtani was involved, or knew of the betting, he denied it. Federal investigators have since called Ohtani a victim.  

Mizuhara had surrendered to federal authorities on April 12, and did not enter a plea during his court appearance. He was released on $25,000 bond.

Mizuhara is expected to enter a plea of guilty to the charges in United States District Court in the coming weeks, the DOJ said. His arraignment is scheduled for May 14.

Mizuhara worked as an interpreter for Ohtani since the slugger joined the Angels organization six years ago.  

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