A federal criminal investigation has uncovered a “large-scale theft” operation inside Nike’s Oregon headquarters, a scheme that targeted valuable sneaker prototypes and involved a Nike product manager, his predecessor at the shoe giant, and a Florida businessman who resold the “extremely rare” kicks to buyers nationwide, The Smoking Gun has learned.
There is a big scandal going on over at Nike. Nike‘s Tung Ho and his predecessor, Kyle Yamaguchi – founder of eyewear label LOOK/SEE – have been named in a Federal investigation surrounding the resale and distribution of rare Nike “Look See” Basketball samples.
Tung Ho who served as a Promo Product Manager at Nike Basketball, had the authority to created limited edition basketball sample kicks under the pretense of giving them to athletes (Kevin Durant and LeBron James amongst them) for on-court wear, then intercept the shoes upon their arrival. These sneakers were “player exclusives” for a wide variety of Nike endorsers, including LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, and Kevin Durant. Yamaguchi acted as the middleman, distributing the sneakers to resellers.
The two made over $200,000 distributing and reselling these custom exclusives. During a four-month period ending in March 2013, Yamaguchi wrote 13 checks to Ho–totaling $104,000–according to bank records cited in the affidavit. According to the affidavit, police were alerted to the thefts in mid-February by Nike security officials during a meeting at the company’s world headquarters in Beaverton.