Federal investigators reveal insane amount of money stolen from Shohei Ohtani

Wait, how much?!
2024 Seoul Series - Los Angeles Dodgers v San Diego Padres
2024 Seoul Series - Los Angeles Dodgers v San Diego Padres / Masterpress/GettyImages

And the hits just keep coming. On Wednesday evening, the New York Times reported that Shohei Ohtani's former interpreter Ippei Mizuhara was "in negotiations to plead guilty" to allegations of stealing money from the Los Angeles Dodgers star. The money was allegedly to feed a sports gambling habit in connection to an illegal bookmaking operation that's currently under investigation by multiple government agencies.

The Times report said that investigators found the initial number reported by Ohtani's camp — $4.5 million — to actually be a gross underestimation, but it didn't include the actual figure that had been stolen from him.

However, per Alden González of ESPN, investigating authorities announced in court on Thursday morning that their current estimates are $16 million, and it could be even more. Mizuhara was also formally charged with bank fraud.

Authorities charged Ippei Mizuhara with bank fraud, discovered $16 million+-plus in theft from Shohei Ohtani

Despite an incredible amount of online discourse and (to be fair to those who have been suspicious of Ohtani) a confusing shift in the narrative at the very outset of the scandal, the Dodgers' slugger has maintained his innocence and stayed quiet on the issue, much to the chagrin of fans, reporters, and commentators alike.

However, both Wednesday's and Thursday's news seems to exonerate Ohtani. Investigators have reason to believe that Mizuhara changed settings on Ohtani's accounts so that he wouldn't be notified about the activity. Bill Shaikin also shared a piece of information from the criminal complaint filed against Mizuhara almost immediately following González's initial tweet, reporting that Mizuhara admitted to stealing from Ohtani through a text message to an unnamed bookmaker.

After a few weeks of silence on the situation, news now seems to be moving at an incredibly accelerated pace. There seems to be no reason at all to be suspicious of Ohtani anymore, and new evidence seems to be sure to confirm his innocence ever further. It's fantastic news for both the Dodgers and league, though questions about the partnership of MLB and multiple sports betting outlets are sure to linger.

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