Lost Soles: Sneaker Theft Ring Hits Nike HQ

Lost Soles: Sneaker Theft Ring Hits Nike HQ

In sneaker culture, certain editions of shoes – Player Editions, Samples, and Family & Friends exclusives – are difficult to get a hold of. Yet, it seems the same “lucky” folks are able to get their hands on exclusive pairs time and time again. Later on, we end up seeing the same sneakers on websites with a bloated price tag. However, they still end up getting purchased. Unbeknownst to the consumer, they are buying stolen goods.

In what looks to be a massive sneaker reselling ring, Sole Collector revealed a detailed plot that three former Nike Employees participated in over a period of eight years, which can be seen below.

* Jason Michael Keating, of Florida, was arrested and charged with recieving stolen property, aka, sample sneakers.

* Tung Ho, who worked as a promo product manager and was able to order sample shoes, was seen under surveillance leaving Nike’s campus with samples and arriving at a self-storage facility to unload boxes believed to hold shoes.

* Kyle Yamaguchi, who held the same position as Ho for five years prior to leaving Nike in the spring of 2012, recieved large cash deposits and funds transfers from Keating’s account to the tune of at least $221,000, which he told bank investigators was recieved for a large shoe collection he was selling on behalf of another individual.

* Between November 2012 and March 2013, checks totaling $104,000 were written by Yamaguchi to Ho.

* Following a search of Ho’s home, close to 1,950 pairs of Nike’s were siezed, along with a large amount cash. Ho has admitted to stealing several hundred pairs of samples from Nike. He explained that he would order samples from China, then sell them on eBay or through Yamaguchi.

An update was made via Sole Collector, which stated that Nike became legally involved by filing a federal lawsuit against five people related to the scheme:

* Former Nike employees Kyle K. Yamaguchi, Tung W. Ho and Denise W.C. Yee, have all been been named, as well as Yamaguchi’s wife, Shu-Chu Yamaguchi, and the previously arrested Jason M. Keating.

* Among the allegations, the lawsuit alleges trademark infringement, fraud, and breach of contract.

* The scheme, according to the complaint, dates all the way from 2006 to 2014.

We can’t help but wonder what happened to the 1,950 pairs of samples that were seized from Tung Ho’s house.