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Former Wal-Mart executive pleads guilty to fraud, tax charges

[JURIST] An former vice chair of Wal-Mart [corporate website; JURIST news archive] pleaded guilty Tuesday to fraud and tax charges for stealing money, merchandise and gift cards from the store and filing a false tax report. Tom Coughlin was referred to federal prosecutors [JURIST report] by Wal-Mart lawyers after they uncovered $500,000 in losses due to store vouchers that Coughlin used to purchase items and funds he embezzled to pay for the care of his hunting dogs, an upgrade to his truck, and to lease a private hunting area. US District Judge Robert Dawson ordered a presentencing report for Coughlin's case that is expected to take up to 14 weeks to complete. He could face up to 28 years in prison and a $1.35 million fine. Last year, a separate suit brought by Wal-Mart to stop Coughlin's multimillion-dollar retirement agreement was dismissed since the deal indicated that neither side would seek claims against the other, but Wal-Mart said it plans to appeal. AP has more.

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