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McClatchy-Tribune  05/09/2014 11:30 PM ET
Florida man accused in theft, resale of limited-edition Nike sneakers has federal arraignment delayed [The Oregonian, Portland, Ore. :: ]

May 09--A federal arraignment for a Florida man accused of repeatedly spending $5,000 to $30,000 on alleged stolen Nike sneakers and then reselling the footwear across the country has been pushed back one month.

Jason M. Keating, 35, of Sanibel, Fla., is now scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in Portland on June 18 to allow more time for an investigation and case preparation, court records say.

Keating's attorney, Gerald Needham, told The Oregonian in April that his client plans to plead not guilty to receipt of stolen property.

Keating frequently bought stolen promotional and sample footwear from Kyle Yamaguchi, a former Nike promotional product manager who left the company in 2012, court documents said. Keating then allegedly sold the sneakers to small businesses in Oregon, California, Florida, New York and New Jersey.

Promotional and sample products consist of items usually made for an athlete, team, celebrity or other influential people and in some cases never become retail products.

These types of shoes are of high value for sneaker collectors, who buy, sell and trade footwear and advertise collections online and through social media. Federal investigators say the Nike promotional and sample sneakers could be sold for prices ranging from $1,000 to more than $20,000 among collectors.

Yamaguchi, 33, of Portland, received the items from Tung Ho, who took over Yamaguchi's job when he left the company.

Ho, 35, of Portland, admitted to stealing several hundred pairs of limited edition Nike sneakers, making $15,000 in sales on eBay and also sold shoes to Yamaguchi, court documents said. Nike fired Ho in March in connection with the criminal investigation.

Keating is the only person who has been arrested in this case. Nike filed a federal lawsuit against Keating, Yamaguchi and Ho in late April. Yamaguchi's wife, Shu-Chu Yamaguchi, and Ho's girlfriend, Denise Yee, are also named in the lawsuit. Yee, 32, of Portland, is also a former Nike employee.

The lawsuit lists trademark infringement, fraud, and breach of contract among the allegations. It seeks a jury trial and damages that include profits made from the unauthorized sneaker sales. The lawsuit also alleges that scheme went on from 2006 to 2014.

Celia Howes, the Yamaguchis' attorney, said she would not discuss the husband's involvement in the case, but said his wife has had no involvement in the alleged scheme.

"She's not a target or subject of a criminal investigation and it's unfortunate that Nike chose to name her in their civil complaint," Howes said. "We believe she has no tie to the ongoing criminal investigation."

Steven Ungar, Ho's attorney, said he recently received the complaint and is still reviewing the case.

"It is Mr. Ho's intention to seek a fair resolution in his differences with his former employer, Nike, while defending the case in a customary manner," he said.

-- Everton Bailey Jr.

 

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