Sneaker resellers have become a plague amongst the sneaker community as they’ve made it damn near impossible for heads to get their hands on grails for retail price. But now a businessman from Charlotte, NC has the feds on his ass for lowkey partaking in the practice, allegedly.
According to WOSC-TV, said businessman is under investigation by authorities for a money laundering scheme that involved Chinese money couriers which the Feds believe led to millions of dollars going through the spin cycle. The businessman at the heart of this investigation is said to have a few businesses under his umbrella including well-known high-end sneaker spot, Social Status.
Since the initial report, and citing the legal docs, multiple outlets have named the owner as James Whitner—which was easy to determine since he is the founder of The Whitaker Group, which owns Social Status and A Ma Maniere. But Whitner has not been charged with anything yet.
Allegedly, “someone” would take the sneakers Whitner would get directly from the plugs (Nike, Adidas, etc.), and sell them to a Chinese national who would then turn around and resell them on the secondary market. The exchange went on during a five-year period and authorities figure around $32 million was made throughout that time.
No wonder it was damn near impossible to hit on that website’s raffles, respectfully. The product was backdoored to China. And here we thought they were just backdooring the kicks to friends and family.
Investigators said the group didn’t report cash payments over $10,000 like it was supposed to, lied to U.S. banks, and potentially broke federal anti-money laundering law.
The man does not face charges at this point.
Stoogenke reached out to him in three different ways on Monday and has yet to hear back.
In general, Stoogenke says money laundering organizations have become underground banking systems that have taken off over the last few years, “cleaning” money from romance scams, drug trafficking, and other crimes.
The Whitaker Group, the ownership of Social Status, issued a statement essentially saying that they have been cooperating. “The recent action by the US Attorney’s Office for the Western District of North Carolina (USAO) comes after significant cooperation and good-faith negotiations on our part,” reads the statement. “To be clear, while we take the allegations in the complaint seriously, they are unfounded, unrelated to our business or this community and unjustified. Our professional inventory management team runs a transparent process built on systems that are both legally compliant and consistent with industry standards. We have also complied with all tax obligations annually.”
Reportedly, the forfeiture actions stems from the almost $1.2 million in cash seized from Antwain Freeman, a friend of Whitaker’s, in New Jersey in 2021. The Feds claim the cash was part of the money transmitting scheme.
Don’t be surprised if everyone’s going to start hitting on those Social Status raffles this holiday season as they now know the jig is up, allegedly.
What do y’all think of this situation? Let us know in the comment section below.
Owner Of Social Status Under IRS Investigation For Reselling Sneakers was originally published on hiphopwired.com
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