US authorities have indicted 25-year-old Brad Stephenson, accusing him of fraudulently obtaining sports gear worth over $80,000 (€65,000) from Nike.
The suspect – former college baseball player – allegedly relied on a security hole in Nike’s website to commit his crimes.
According to court documents, Stephenson learned that Nike provides elite-athlete accounts to certain clients, which allows them to order items without paying for them.
Somehow, he managed to access 12 such accounts, which he used – over the course of five months – to make orders worth $81,419 (€65,949). To avoid raising suspicion, the asked for the merchandise to be shipped to various locations in Florida, Virginia, North Carolina and Arizona.
“Through his association with professional athletes he learned about the Nike elite-athlete accounts. Once he gained access to the accounts, he ordered merchandise from Nike by listing himself as a guest of the account holder,” the indictment reads.
Authorities caught on to his scheme after the rightful owners of the accounts confirmed that they had not placed the orders, nor did they authorize anyone else to do so. As a result, right after Stephenson turned 25, representatives of the US Secret Service showed up at his door with a warrant.
During the search of his home, they found and confiscated 231 Nike items, valued at around $17,000 (€13,700). The rest of the fraudulently obtained merchandise was either sold on eBay or handed out as gifts.
The suspect came to an agreement with Nike, promising to pay up for all the damages he has caused.
The man would not reveal the techniques he used to gain access to all those accounts. However, he claims that everything will be revealed in the book he has just finished writing.