MANHATTAN (CN) – The iconic American denim company Levi Strauss & Co. filed a complaint on Tuesday, seeking to have a suspected internet predator barred from posing as a Levi’s employee to arrange rendezvous with New York teens.
According to the 10-page complaint filed Tuesday in New York County Supreme Court, defendant Darrin Barker presented himself online as an employee of the Levi’s Only store at West 34th Street and asked underage women to meet under the guise of hiring them as seasonal employees.
Levi’s says Barker used the Instagram handle @6luuwill6 in the online exchanges, where he purported to work for the Levi’s Only store to induce “potential customers into engaging in inappropriate contact at his home.”
Misuse of the Levi’s affiliation constitutes criminal impersonation in the second degree and false advertising, according to the company’s complaint.
The Instagram page that Levi’s claims belongs to Barker is no longer active, but cached records show that it had had 247 followers and followed more than 2,000 users.
Levi’s says it was first informed of Baxter’s scheme in July 2017 by a parent whose daughter was purportedly lured Barker’s home via text messages as part of the phony job-application process.
An internal Levi’s investigation confirmed that phone number associated with the Instagram handle belonged to Barker, who worked for the store as a seasonal employee in 2012 and 2014.
Levi’s sent Barker a cease-and-desist letter in August, demanding that he stop presenting himself online as an employee of any Levi’s entity. The company says it asked Barker to acknowledge receipt and agree to comply in writing by Aug. 28, but did not receive a response.
The company’s complaint includes a screenshot from Facebook in which a woman from the Bronx warns users about @6luuwill6 trying to pick up women in the same manner, except the retail outlet he claims to be affiliated with is Zara.
A feminist Tumblr page posted a warning about Barker’s alleged routine, connecting the warning to a string of unsolved missing black and Latina teenagers in New York: “Several girls have said that a man (@6LUUWILL6) hit them up saying that a friend recommended them to a job and asks them to come to Riverdale and asks for their phone number,” the post says.
Levi Strauss & Co. and Levi’s Only Stores Inc. are represented by James Yu with Seyfarth Shaw in New York.