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Wal-Mart Ex-Officer Sentenced

From the Associated Press

A former Wal-Mart Stores Inc. vice chairman who began his career as the company’s theft prevention chief was sentenced Friday to 27 months in home detention after pleading guilty to stealing money, merchandise and gift cards from the retailer.

Thomas Coughlin, 57, avoided prison time, but he also was ordered to serve five years’ probation and pay a $50,000 fine and about $411,000 in restitution to Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart and the Internal Revenue Service.

Prosecutors had asked for Coughlin to serve six months to a year in prison, but U.S. District Judge Robert Dawson agreed with a doctor who testified that Coughlin’s health was too poor for him to enter prison.

Coughlin pleaded guilty in January to stealing items from the world’s largest retailer that were worth just a fraction of what he earned in salary, bonuses and stock options.

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“There is no excuse for my conduct,” Coughlin said at the hearing Friday.

Dawson said Coughlin had been an exemplary citizen before this case and had been punished by the surrounding publicity. Dawson also noted that Coughlin faced the possibility of losing his retirement benefits if Wal-Mart succeeded with a civil lawsuit that was under appeal.


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