Saturday, July 16, 2005

Wal-Mart Accuses Second Executive of Participating in Fraud

Wal-Mart terminated the retirement benefits of former executive  Thomas Coughlin this past March and removed him from the board of directors for what the company described as a series of fraudulent billings and other misappropriations (including the use of giftcards for personal purchases) that totaled up to $500,000.  The company has now accused a second executive, Jared Bowen, of helping Coughlin cover-up the fraud through false invoices.  Bowen was fired this past March, and he filed a whistleblower complaint with the Department of Labor under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act claiming that he lost his job because he reported Coughlin's misconduct.  In a recent filing in the DOL case, Wal-Mart asserts that Bowen engaged in a "brazen deceit" by assisting Coughlin.  Moreover, demonstrating a "take no prisoners" approach, the company also accuses Bowen of submitting falsified college transcripts when he was hired in 1996.  A grand jury in Arkansas is investigating Coughlin, and it is likely that Bowen's involvement in the allegedly falsified invoices and giftcard transactions will be scrutinized.  A New York Times story (here) discusses Wal-Mart's response to Bowen's claims.  (ph)

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Fraud, Grand Jury, Investigations | Permalink

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