Dodgers Star Shohei Ohtani Allegedly Victim of “Massive Theft”

The baseball season is just around the corner but the drama has already reached its peak. Lawyers for Los Angeles Dodgers superstar Shohei Ohtani are saying that the superstar has been the victim of “massive theft” at the hands of his former interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara.

Shohei Ohtani hasn’t even had a regular season at-bat with the Los Angeles Dodgers but he is already making headlines. Ippei Mizuhara, Ohtani’s now-former interpreter, is accused of stealing more than $4.5 million from the star’s bank account in wire transfers to bookmakers.

The investigation is still ongoing but the interpreter was already fired by the Dodgers. There remain questions about whether Mizuhara ever bet on baseball and what, if any, knowledge Ohtani had of the entire endeavor.

Claims from Mizuhara

This isn’t a story of online blackjack or online slots that went awry. It involves a sports betting debt in the millions. Initially, Mizuhara claimed that he went to Ohtani to ask for his help in paying off at least $4.5 million in gambling debts. 

According to Mizuhara, those bets were placed through DraftKings and were assumed to be legal. He then changed his tune and said that Ohtani had no knowledge whatsoever of his gambling debts and that no money had been transferred to the bookmaker. Mizuhara maintained that Ohtani had no involvement with betting of any kind.

Accusations from Ohtani’s Lawyers

Who is Shohei Ohtani's interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara? Everything we know

This investigation goes beyond the interpreter and includes a California bookmaker by the name of Matthew Bowyer. He was investigated by federal agents and an investigation by the L.A. Times is what sparked the investigation into Mizuhara in the first place.

The lawyers claim that Mizuhara transferred money from Ohtani’s account without his knowledge. Given the changing testimony from Mizuhara, this will require further investigation.

The real question is whether Ohtani will face punishment for this. No employee is allowed to gamble on baseball but may bet on other sports (Mizuhara would fall under these guidelines). That said, if the bets were not placed with legal bookmakers, then punishment could come into question.

That said, an MLB official said that Ohtani is not currently facing any kind of disciplinary action. The news broke publicly before anyone from the league office knew about the investigation. Another major issue is that Ohtani could face legal issues, at least according to a California gambling law expert. RICO and money laundering statutes could potentially kick in depending on the depth and nature of the incident.


For now, we are getting two different stories from Ohtani and his former interpreter. More information will no doubt come out as things start to become more fleshed out. It is not a good look in any event, but the Dodgers hope that it is one that Ohtani can move on from sooner rather than later.

Noah has worked in the iGaming space for more than five years, first as a freelancer and now as part of Duluth Media. He’s experienced in all facets of the industry and has covered plenty of sports.

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