Inside job at Nike unveils sneaker ring

BEAVERTON, Ore. (KOIN) A federal investigation is underway after an employee at Nike was caught stealing prototype sneakers and selling the one-offs online for thousands of dollars.

According to federal court documents, Nike employee Tung Ho was ordering and then stealing one-of-a-kind sample shoes.

Former Nike employee Kyle Yamaguchi acted as a middleman, the documents allege, and then sold the shoes to buyer Jason Keating.

Tung Ho was well known in the sneaker world. (Tumblr)
Tung Ho was well known in the sneaker world. (Tumblr)

Investigators estimate Yamaguchi, Keating and Ho sold the shoes for months, with sales ranging between $1,000 and $20,000 for a pair of the coveted one-offs.

So far, Keating has been arrested, but Ho and Yamaguchi have not.

Unreleased Nike shoes are the ultimate coveted prize for sneaker collectors world wide.

Rare products will inevitably be in high demand, and as a result, exceedingly valuable, according to the man whose shoe designs are among the world’s most famous.

“It’s more for the ego stroke of being the only person with it,” said former Nike Air Jordan designer D’Wayne Edwards.

“When people want something in demand, somehow illegal activity ends up making its way into that process.”

Investigators estimate Yamaguchi, Keating and Ho sold the shoes for months, with sales ranging between $1,000 and $20,000 for a pair of the coveted one-offs.

Jason Michael Keating, April 18, 2014 (Washington County Sheriff's Office)
Jason Michael Keating, April 18, 2014 (Washington County Sheriff’s Office)

“It’s clear that it’s a large operation where they’re turning a lot of product, stealing a lot of product and again clearly just for the money,” said Washington County Sheriff’s spokesperson Bob Ray.

Ray said he expects more arrests to follow Keating’s.

“I thought it was crazy,” said sneaker retailer Lydell Cole.

Cole said emloyees at the store in downtown Portland knew Ho and Yamaguchi, because the world of “sneakerheads” is a small one.

“They come into the store, you see them out, word spreads,” he said.

The company is aware of the investigation, and is cooperating fully with law enforcement, Nike spokesperson Greg Rossiter.

Ho’s prototypes appear on several sneaker blogs, and he is well known among “sneakerheads.”

When police raided his home, they found more than 1,900 pairs of shoes and a large, undisclosed amount of cash.

A confidential source said more employees at Nike were involved, according to the court documents.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus