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Former Nike manager sentenced to prison in “pop-up store” scam

Nike in downtown Portland
Evan Sernoffsky
Nike in downtown Portland

A former marketing manager at Nike was sentenced to more than two-and-a-half years in federal prison on Tuesday for defrauding his former employer and a childhood friend. Federal prosecutors said Errol Amorin Andam embezzled more than $1.4 million from Nike by steering work creating Nike pop-up stores to a friend’s company.

Andam was sentenced to 31 months in federal prison and three years of probation. Andam was also ordered to pay more than $1.6 million in restitution. The Internal Revenue Service had already seized $212,838 in money Andam made from the scheme.

On Feb. 4, Andam was charged with wire fraud, money laundering and making false statements on a loan application. On April 12, he pleaded guilty to all three charges.

According to court documents, from 2001 until his termination in 2018, Andam was employed by Nike at its headquarters in Beaverton. Most recently, Andam worked as a manager in the company’s North American retail brand marketing division, where he managed the design, build-out and operation of “pop-up” retail stores.

Prosecutors said Andam recruited a childhood friend to establish a company that would design and build the pop-up venues for Nike. Andam used his authority as a manager at Nike to ensure his friend’s company was given these jobs. Though he had no formal role in the friend’s company, Andam assumed control of much of the company’s financial operations, managing financial accounts and issuing invoices to Nike.

Beginning in September 2016, Andam caused credit-card sales at various pop-up venues around the U.S. to be run through card readers associated with a Square account, a card reading service, owned by his friend’s company. These proceeds were transferred to Square in California and then to Andam’s limited liability corporation bank account in Oregon. Andam told both Nike and his friend that the proceeds of these sales were credited against the total amount Nike owed to the friend’s company. In truth, Andam simply pocketed the proceeds.

To conceal his role in the scheme, Andam used an alter ego, “Frank Little,” to invoice Nike and manage the contract company’s account with Square.

From September 2016 through December 2018, Andam diverted and embezzled Nike proceeds for his own use. In July 2018, Andam submitted a fake financial statement from his LLC in support of a residential mortgage loan application. Andam also forged his friend’s signature.

Copyright 2021 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Alex Hasenstab