In a federal investigation, authorities have busted a black market sneaker scheme out of Nike’s Oregon headquarters. Nike employees stole and sold sample shoes around the country for as much as $20,000 a pair, according to reports.
Nike Basketball’s “promo product manager” Tung Ho, 35, worked with his alleged middle man and Florida-based reseller, Jason Keating, 35, raking in tens of thousands of dollars, according to New York Daily News. Ho secretly ordered pre-production Nike sneakers, known as “Look See” models, directly from Nike’s factory in China.
According to a criminal complaint obtained by the Smoking Gun, federal investigators raided Ho’s home on March 14, where they seized 1941 pairs of Nike shoes and “a large sum of United States currency.” After being read the Miranda warning, Ho allegedly admitted to stealing and selling the shoes on eBay and to his middle man, former Nike employee Kyle Yamaguchi. Investigators report that these pairs are “highly sought after by sneaker collectors.” The limited designs, which often never hit stores, were sold from $1,000 to more than $20,000.
The federal court affidavit was filed in connection with the felony charge of receiving stolen property against Keating. Nike security officials alerted police to the thefts in mid-February, identifying Ho and Yamaguchi, 33, as suspects in the “Look See” operation.
Citing bank records in the affidavit, New York Daily News reported that in just four months, Yamaguchi sent 13 checks to Ho, totaling $104,000.
So far, authorities arrested and charged Keating Wednesday, but have yet to arrest Ho and Yamaguchi, pending the investigation’s outcome, according to the US Attorney’s Office. Yamaguchi allegedly has also admitted to his part in the scheme.