Ex-Nike Promotional Product Manager Pleads Guilty to Selling Stolen Sneakers
A Portland man admitted to stealing and selling hundreds of sneakers over the course of a few years while working at Nike, Beaverton, Ore., and continuing the conspiracy with his predecessor after he left the company.
Kyle K. Yamaguchi, 33, pled guilty to conspiracy to transport, receive and sell stolen goods, according to The Oregonian.
In addition to criminal charges, Nike had sued Yamaguchi and others involved in the scheme. Yamaguchi settle his civil case by paying Nike an undisclosed amount, according to the article.
Yamaguchi worked as the promotional product manager for Nike's basketball division, making him responsible for "providing unique styles of Nike basketball shoes to famous athletes and other celebrities—as well as members of their entourages—to wear while in the public eye" from July 2006 to January 2012, according to a federal indictment filed July 9. During that time he ordered promotional and sample sneakers from Nike's China factory, taking some for himself to sell. When he left, he handpicked Tung Ho, 36, of Portland, to replace him—and allegedly continue the conspiracy for which Yamaguchi then became the middleman, earning a 20 percent cut on shoes he sold for Ho.
Ho, whom Nike fired in March, was charged with conspiracy to transport, receive and sell stolen goods; and two counts of wire fraud, according to the indictment.
He and Jason Keating, 35, of Fort Myers, Fla., both pled not guilty and will appear in federal court for trial March 10, according to The Oregonian.
Keating, who used the pseudonym "Artphax," allegedly paid Yamaguchi $679,650 for more than 630 pairs of shoes between September 2012 to March 2014. He then is believed to have sold the shoes to private collectors, who often paid thousand for a single pair. Keating was charged with conspiracy to transport, receive and sell stolen goods; and receipt of stolen goods.
Yamaguchi will be sentenced March 31, according to The Oregonian. While he could have faced up to five years behind bars, prosecutors will ask for five years of probation since his cooperation with authorities resulted in the federal charges against Ho and Keating. The plea agreement dismissed a second charge of interstate transportation of stolen goods and ordered him to pay $50,000 in forfeiture.