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James Whitner Named in Multimillion Dollar Resale Laundering Scheme

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James Whitner, founder of The Whitaker Group and owner of sneaker shops like A Ma Maniére and Social Status, is implicated in a multi-million-dollar money laundering scheme, breaching a contract with a Pacific Northwest sneaker company, likely Nike.

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The contract explicitly prohibited Whitner from selling the company’s products outside the U.S., to other retailers, distributors, or brokers, or in circumstances suggesting resale. Despite this, Whitner engaged in transactions with a Chinese individual, “YG,” resulting in over 255 exchanges totaling $32 million USD over five years.

While Whitner claimed innocence, a phone call revealed associates collecting funds from New York City sex workers, channeled as payment to Antwain Freeman. Nike and Whitner have yet to address the situation publicly.

Amid these allegations, Whitner released a statement rejecting the claims, emphasizing transparent inventory management and adherence to tax obligations. He asserted the accusations were baseless, unrelated to their business or community, portraying the legal compliant and industry-standard processes.

Whitner, with over 20 years in the business, operating 20 locations and employing 250 people, expressed disagreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office allegations. He portrayed their success as inadvertently caught in a U.S.-China financial and regulatory dispute.

Despite Whitner’s denial, he forfeited $1,199,530 USD found at Freeman’s New Jersey residence. While not charged, Whitner remains resolute in defending his business, committed to serving communities, and countering allegations that threaten the legacy they’ve built over two decades. The legal battle awaits, but Whitner remains unwavering in his dedication to culture, commerce, and community.

In the face of adversity, Whitner is determined to continue telling their stories and building a legacy of excellence, undeterred by the challenges posed by the complaint. The ongoing support from vendor partners further fortifies their resolve, paving the way for a vigorous defense against the allegations while continuing to contribute positively to culture and society.

Mario Briguglio
Mario Briguglio
Founder and Editor in Chief. My passion for sneakers started at age 6 and now I've turned my passion into a profession. Favorite Kicks - Air Jordan 3 "Black Cement"

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