Errol Andam’s spectacular and controversial rise from the mean streets of Los Angeles to high-level designer for Nike ended badly Thursday when federal prosecutors charged Andam with defrauding his former employer for $1.4 million.
Known for his volcanic temper and four-inch mohawk haircut, Andam was accused of wire fraud, money laundering and making false statements on a loan application.
Prosecutors have been working the case for more than two years since Andam left Nike in late 2018. Nike officials allegedly brought the case to prosecutors’ attention.
“He no longer works for the company,” Nike spokesman Greg Rossiter said 2019. “We will cooperate with any government investigation.
Andam, 49, was the only person charged in the case. He could not be reached for comment and his attorney did not respond to a message Thursday afternoon.
Reached by phone months before today’s criminal case was unveiled, Andam told The Oregonian/OregonLive to leave him alone.
“I don’t want to talk about this,” he said. “Please don’t call me back.”
Andam worked at Nike for 17 years, moving up the corporate ladder from a Los Angeles retail store to a midlevel marketing manager’s position. Several Nike contractors and former Nike coworkers have told The Oregonian/OregonLive that Andam had a demanding, temperamental persona.
They said they put up with it because he was the gatekeeper to millions of dollars of Nike marketing money.
Suspicions that Andam was somehow scamming Nike had dogged him for years, according to those contractors and former colleagues. He was a regular at the best nightclubs in South Florida, former colleagues said, and they wondered how he could afford that on his Nike salary.
Federal prosecutors on Thursday accused the former Nike employee of defrauding the company and essentially stealing $1.4 million from the footwear giant. The government claims that in 2016 Andam recruited a childhood friend to establish a new company, ostensibly in the business of building precisely the kind of temporary, or “pop-up” installations that Andam specialized in.
Andam secretly controlled the company, prosecutors claim, and used his influence to steer a steady flow of Nike work to the operation. Andam personally prepared the invoices that were sent to Nike, the government claims.
Andam also allegedly diverted sales revenue from temporary Nike stores, known as pop-ups, that the company often erects in conjunction with large athletic events, according to the federal charges.
Andam cut a broad swath through the Portland marketing scene.
SET Creative, in Northwest Portland, was Andam’s go-to local contractor. More than a dozen former SET employees told The Oregonian similar tales of the long hours and difficult working conditions at SET due largely to Andam’s constant presence.
Nike is life’s blood for a small but vibrant ecosystem of Portland design firms, marketing shops, photographers, fabricators and other specialists. Nike’s…
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