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Shohei Ohtani gambling scandal: TV series in development about Dodgers superstar, interpreter Ippei Mizuhara

Shohei Ohtani gambling scandal: TV series in development about Dodgers superstar, interpreter Ippei Mizuhara


Shohei Ohtani is getting the Hollywood treatment, just not how he or the Dodgers dreamed when he signed a $700 million contract in the offseason. Instead, the two-way superstar will be the subject of a scripted TV series about his friend and former interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara, who stole almost $17 million from him to pay off illegal gambling debts, Lionsgate Television announced Thursday.

Tony Award winner and producer Scott Delman, who has credits on Broadway shows from “Mean Girls” to “The Book of Mormon” as well as serving as executive producer on “Station Eleven,” and former Sports Illustrated reporter Albert Chen, author of the sports gambling book “Billion Dollar Fantasy,” are behind the untitled project.

“This is Major League Baseball’s biggest sports gambling scandal since Pete Rose – and at its center is its biggest star, one that MLB has hitched its wagon on,” Chen said in a statement. “We’ll get to the heart of the story – a story of trust, betrayal and the trappings of wealth and fame.”

The announcement comes a day after the Department of Justice announced that Mizuhara has agreed to plead guilty to one count of bank fraud and one count of subscribing to a false tax return. Mizuhara, who served as Ohtani’s interpreter with the Angels and the Dodgers before being fired on the first day of the 2024 MLB season, used his access to Ohtani’s bank accounts to pay off millions of dollars owed to an illicit bookmaker in California, where sports betting is illegal. According to prosecutors, after going to a Phoenix bank with Ohtani to open a bank account, Mizuhara changed the security protocols on the account so bank employees would call him, rather than Ohtani, with any questions. Mizuhara impersonated Ohtani in calls with bank employees at least 24 times, according to the U.S Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California.

Mizuhara also used Ohtani’s accounts to buy $325,000 worth of baseball cards on eBay and other online resellers in order to flip them and profit himself. In September 2023, Ohtani agreed to pay for Mizuhara’s $60,000 dental work and provided him with a check. Instead, according to prosecutors, Mizuhara paid the bill with Ohtani’s debit card and deposited the check into his personal account.

Prosecutors have labeled Ohtani a victim and said he had no role in Mizuhara’s gambling.

“The extent of this defendant’s deception and theft is…

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