Former Nike Employee Sells Stolen Shoes for $680,000
Kyle K. Yamaguchi, 33, who left Nike in 2012 as a promotional product manager, confessed that he had ordered sample and promotional sneakers from a Nike factory in China. The thing is, the shoes were limited edition and were intended for star athletes, celebs and collectors, who call them “look sees.” The sneakers usually start at $1,000 each and go up to an astounding $20,0000.
Yamaguchi was replaced by Tung Wing Ho after leaving Nike. Ho and Yamaguchi then stole the shoes between September 2012 and March 2014 to make a profit. Yamaguchi confessed to stealing over a hundred pairs and making $15,000 selling them on eBay. In addition, one Florida-based shoe dealer, Jason M. Keating, paid nearly $680,000 for more than 630 sneakers in order to sell to small businesses in Oregon, California, Florida, New York and New Jersey. The government alleges that Yamaguchi made about $200,000 in profits while Ho made nearly $600,000.
Ho and Keating have pleaded not guilty to the charges and are scheduled for trial on April 21.
Rather than deny the scheme, however, Yamaguchi surprisingly confessed everything to investigators. In addition, Yamaguchi offered not only a binder stacked with evidence, he also provided a spreadsheet of his illegal transactions and even a PowerPoint to accompany it.
These admissions helped Yamaguchi receive a lesser sentence and no jail time. Without them, Yamaguchi could’ve landed a potential five-year prison term. But Yamaguchi is an exception, as was his plea deal. Prosecutors were so impressed with his confession, his owning up to the crime and his help building a case against Ho and Keating, that they offered Yamaguchi a plea agreement that required him to only serve five years of probation with 50 hours of voluntary community service.
His assistance began to act “almost as an arm of the government,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan W. Bounds told the court.
Yamaguchi told the judge that his greed and weakness made him a criminal that shamed his family. He said,