A former Nike marketing manager Errol Andam has pleaded guilty to alleged wire and mail fraud.
The news was first reported by The Oregonian.
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In early February, federal prosecutors claimed that Andam defrauded the sneaker giant of nearly $1.5 million. He was also accused of money laundering and making false statements on a loan application as part of a plan to defraud his former employer.
From 2001 until his termination in 2018, Andam was employed at the company’s corporate headquarters in Beaverton, Ore. His last post was as a manager in Nike’s North American Retail Brand Marketing division, where he managed the design, build-out and operation of the brand’s pop-up shops that were situated near sports competitions and other special events in the U.S.
Andam allegedly recruited a childhood friend in the summer of 2016 to establish a company to build and design pop-ups as an independent contractor for Nike. Andam allegedly used his influence as a manager at Nike to ensure that his friend’s company was consistently awarded the contracts for the jobs. While Andam had no official role in his friend’s company, he allegedly oversaw much of its financial operations, managed financial accounts and issued invoices to Nike. Andam allegedly used the alias “Frank Little” to invoice Nike and manage his friend’s company with the mobile payment company Square Inc.
A hearing on the plea agreement is scheduled for April 12.
Andam is facing 24 to 37 months in prison after agreeing to plead guilty to criminal charges of wire fraud, money laundering and submitting a false mortgage application, according to the Oregonian.
After being charged in early February, Andam initially could have faced a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison, fines of $4.5 million and five years of supervised release.
The plea deal reportedly calls for Andam to pay $1.49 million in restitution to Nike and another $173,172 to another company.
A Nike spokeswoman did not respond immediately to a request for comment Monday.
After a Nike internal investigation team uncovered what the company described earlier this year as Andam’s “activity,” the company turned over evidence to the U.S. attorney Billy J. Williams. At the time of his arrest in early February, Nike said in a statement that, “It’s unfortunate that Mr. Andam, who had a job that allowed him access to some of the most exciting events in the world of sport, chose to abuse the trust that Nike put in him.”
Following Williams’ departure in mid- February, Scott Erik Asphaug is the acting U.S. attorney for Oregon.
Nike had other legal tangles last week, after receiving a temporary restraining order from a U.S. District Court to stop the sale of any Lil Nas X’s “Satan shoes.” The Brooklyn-based art collective MSCHF that collaborated with the musician and rapper to create sneakers with a drop of human blood in each pair has had to hit the brakes. An e-mailed media request and call to two MSCHF executives were unreturned Monday. In wrapping up a lengthy statement that was posted on the MSCHF site last week, the company wrote, “We look forward to working with Nike and law court to resolve this case in the most expeditious manner.”