A Nike sales representative who cheated the sportswear giant out of at least three quarters of a million dollars by offering deep discounts to two side companies he quietly formed with a friend was sentenced Tuesday to a year and a month in federal prison.
David Reichert, dabbing his eyes with tissues, apologized in a quavering voice to Nike, where he had worked for more than 15 years, to his family and to the court. He said he was particularly sorry to his daughter, now 10.
“I’m embarrassed and ashamed to be in front of you today,” Reichert told U.S. District Judge Robert E. Jones. “I know I was wrong in my actions while I was working for Nike.”
He’s agreed to pay Nike $769,280.16 in restitution within a week, cleaning out two of his retirement accounts.
The judge rejected pleas by Reichert’s lawyer to sentence Reichert to probation and no prison time.
The judge characterized Reichert’s “extraordinary discounts” given to his own two companies to fill his “own pockets” as “100 percent greed.”
Defense attorney John Lynch argued that Reichert didn’t steal from Nike for significant material gain, noting Reichert didn’t use the money to buy a boat, a Rolex watch or a fancy car, as the court might find in other white-collar crimes.
Instead, Reichert offered the excessive discounts to help support his two other companies that he and his childhood friend invested in together, Lynch said.
Reichert already has lost his job and his livelihood and will never gain a similar position in the future, Lynch said.
The attorney also argued that Reichert admitted to the wrongdoing during his first interview in July 2014 with the FBI and Nike’s general counsel.
Prosecutor Ryan M. Bounds countered that Reichert’s crimes lasted for an extended period and that only probation would be “way out of whack” with sentences for similar offenses.
“The conduct was deliberate, deceptive, ongoing and self-enriching,” Bounds said.
Reichert, 51, pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud on April 25.