Ippei Mizuhara charged with bank fraud & stealing over $16 million from Shohei Ohtani

Late yesterday, multiple stories broke that federal authorities were due to charge Ippei Mizuhara for his alleged theft from Shohei Ohtani, whom Mizuhara was formerly the translator for. Earlier today, the U.S. Attorney’s Office did exactly that and charged Mizuhara with bank fraud for illegally transferring over $16 million from Ohtani’s bank account without his knowledge.

The press release from the charge clears up many of the remaining questions that people had about the case.

According to an affidavit filed with the complaint, from November 2021 to January 2024, Mizuhara wired more than $16 million in unauthorized transfers from a checking account belong to an MLB player identified in the affidavit as “Victim A,” who in fact is MLB star Shohei Ohtani. The transfers from this bank account allegedly were made from devices and IP addresses associated with Mizuhara, who served as Ohtani’s translator and de facto manager.
In 2018, Mizuhara accompanied Ohtani, who didn’t speak English, to a bank branch in Arizona to assist Ohtani in opening the account and translated for Ohtani when setting up the account details. Ohtani’s salary from playing professional baseball was deposited into this account and he never gave Mizuhara control of this or any of his other financial accounts, according to the affidavit. Mizuhara allegedly told Ohtani’s U.S.-based financial professionals, none of whom spoke Japanese, that Ohtani denied them access to the account.
In September 2021, Mizuhara began gambling with an illegal sports book and, several months later, started losing substantial sums of money, the affidavit states. During this time, the contact information on Ohtani’s bank account allegedly was changed to link the account to Mizuhara’s phone number and to an anonymous email address connected to Mizuhara.
Mizuhara allegedly also telephoned the bank and falsely identified himself as Ohtani to trick bank employees into authorizing wire transfers from Ohtani’s bank account to associates of the illegal gambling operation.

Most importantly, despite many people not wanting to believe it, authorities effectively cleared Ohtani of wrongdoing in the press release and at the subsequent press conference, and consider him a victim.

In an interview last week with law enforcement, Ohtani denied authorizing Mizuhara’s wire transfers. Ohtani provided his cellphone to law enforcement, who determined that there was no evidence to suggest that Ohtani was aware of, or involved in, Mizuhara’s illegal gambling activity or payment of those debts.

He said investigators combed through years of text messages between the two and found no discussion of gambling.
“Mr. Mizuhara used and abused that position of trust … in order to plunder Mr. Ohtani’s bank account to the tune of over $16 million,” Estrada said.

The press release also says Mizuhara is facing a felony that carries up to 30 years in prison.


Additionally, a 37-page complaint was filed, which is worth reading because it essentially answers all the remaining questions out there. It details the seemingly overwhelming evidence against Mizuhara — explaining how he got access to the money, what he did with the money, how he made sure nobody found out — as well as showing the reason Ohtani is considered cleared. Perhaps just as importantly and informatively, it paints a sad portrait of a gambling addict in Mizuhara.

Excerpts from the complaint include stuff like Mizuhara being $40 million down on bets, why the bookie continued to give him credit (cause he paid), that the bookie almost confronted Ohtani himself, and … well, literally Ippei admitting that he did the crime.

Text messages showed that Mizuhara began gambling with a bookmaker in September 2021 and began losing “substantial sums of money” later that year. In all, the complaint states, Mizuhara averaged 25 bets per day, ranging from $10 to $160,000 per bet, between December 2021 and this January — some 19,000 bets in all. Mizuhara’s betting records, according to a spreadsheet obtained by authorities, reflected total winnings of $142 million and total losses of $183 million during this span, “leaving a total net balance of negative $40,678,436.”

On June 24, 2023, the bookmaker again extended him more credit. In a text message he wrote to Mizuhara: “To be honest with you Ippie (sic), as long as you can guarantee the 500 every Monday I’ll give you as much as you want because I know you’re good for it[.]”

According to the affidavit, Mizuhara repeatedly texted the bookmaker asking for more credit. On Nov. 14, 2022, he wrote, “I’m terrible at this sport betting thing huh? Lol . . . Any chance u can bump me again?? As you know, you don’t have to worry about me not paying!!”

Text messages from the filing show that around November 2023, the relationship between Mizuhara and the bookmaker changed. On Nov. 17, the bookmaker texted: “I don’t know why you’re not returning my calls. I’m here in Newport Beach and I see [Ohtani] walking his dog. I’m just gonna go up and talk to him and ask how I can get in touch with you since you’re not responding? Please call me back immediately.”

On March 20, 2024, after news broke that at least $4.5 million had been transmitted from Ohtani’s account to Bowyer’s operation, Mizuhara texted the bookmaker asking whether he had seen the media reports. The bookmaker replied, “Yes, but that’s all bulls—. Obviously you didn’t steal from him. I understand it’s a cover job I totally get it.”
Mizuhara replied, “Technically I did steal from him. It’s all over for me.”

The complaint describes Mizuhara as Ohtani’s de facto manager, which explains his level of access.


As alluded to earlier, U.S. Attorney Martin Estrada held a press conference, during which he summarized the complaint and took questions from reporters.

It is mentioned that despite the constant betting, there were none made on baseball.


MLB, who has their own investigation into the matter, briefly commented on charges.

“We are aware of the charges filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office against Mr. Mizuhara for bank fraud after a thorough federal investigation. According to that investigation, Shohei Ohtani is considered a victim of fraud and there is no evidence that he authorized betting with an illegal bookmaker. Further, the investigation did not find any betting on baseball by Mr. Mizuhara. Given the information disclosed today, and other information we have already collected, we will wait until resolution of the criminal proceeding to determine whether further investigation is warranted.”

Understandable, but hopefully it’s all resolved sooner than later.

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"A highly rational Internet troll." - Los Angeles Times