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Shohei Ohtani's ex-interpreter released on $25,000 bond after Los Angeles court appearance

Ohtani's ex-interpreter lost over $50,000 a day in alleged gambling scheme
Ohtani's ex-interpreter lost over $50,000 a day in alleged gambling scheme 04:25

One day after Shohei Ohtani's ex-interpreter was charged with bank fraud for stealing $16 million from the Japanese baseball star, he was released on $25,000 bond after making his first, brief Los Angeles court appearance. 

Ippei Mizuhara had surrendered to federal authorities Friday morning. He did not enter a plea during his court appearance.

The Dodgers superstar accused his interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara, of massive theft and a federal investigation uncovered that funds were stolen to cover Mizuhara's gambling debts, and the amount is much greater than what was first reported to be "at least $4.5 million."

"According to the complaint, Mr. Mizuhara stole this money, largely to finance his voracious appetite for illegal sports betting," U.S. Attorney Martin Estrada said at an April 11 news conference.

While questions lingered if Ohtani was involved, or knew of the betting, he denied it, and federal law enforcement officials call Ohtani a victim.

Serving as Ohtani's interpreter and right-hand man, 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.

Estrada said since 2021, Mizuhara made thousands of sports wagers, but not on baseball.

When first confronted with the theft accusation, Mizuhara said that Ohtani paid his gambling debts for him. One day later, Mizuhara changed his story, saying Ohtani didn't know anything about the debts, and had not transferred any funds to bookmakers.

On March 25, Ohtani held a Dodger Stadium news conference saying that he never bet on sports or knowingly paid any gambling debts accumulated by his interpreter.

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

"Ippei has been stealing money from my account and has been telling lies," Ohtani said.

While Mizuhara, 39 will make a brief appearance in court Friday, he is expected to be released on bond. The U.S. Attorney's office does not expect him to enter a plea.

Mizuhara could face up to 30 years in federal prison if convicted of the charge. He is due back in court May 9.

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