A federal grand jury has indicted two former Nike employees and one Florida man for running a Nike sample theft scheme, dating back nearly a decade.
According to The Oregonian, former employees Kyle K. Yamaguchi, Tung W. Ho and Denise W.C. Yee, as well as Yamaguchi’s wife, Shu-Chu Yamaguchi, and sneaker reseller Jason M. Keating, were involved in a scheme that stretched from 2006 to 2014.
Ho faces counts of wire fraud, while Kyle K. Yamaguchi is accused of interstate transportation of stolen goods and Keating faces an additional receipt of stolen goods charge.
Details of the scheme are incredibly alarming, as both indicted employees held highly influential positions within Nike. Yamaguchi, 33, was Nike’s Promotional Product Manager for Nike’s basketball division with his main duty being to develop athletic partnerships within the NBA and allocate marketing samples for the league’s most revered athletes, as well as key influencers.
Ho, 35, later took on the role after Yamaguci personally selected him as his replacement following his resignation. He was fired in April over allegations of theft.
Federal charges come on the heels of a lawsuit brought forth by Nike against the aforementioned individuals in an effort to recover losses from the unsanctioned sneaker sales.
Keating, 35, was arrested in March on a charge of receipt of stolen property and is scheduled for a July 19 appearance in U.S. District Court in Portland.
The scheme had Yamaguchi masterminding and covering up a complex ring with the assistance of Ho. The theft primarily involved the ordering of additional promotional shoes from Nike factories (billed to various subsidiaries) and later reselling the stolen shoes to Keatin, who paid nearly $680,000 for 930 pairs of shoes from September 2012 to March 2014.