Coughlin to Plead Guilty

New York City, The Wall Street Journal’s Web site reported that former Wal-Mart Stores vice chairman Thomas Coughlin intends to plead guilty to wire fraud and tax-evasion charges. Coughlin, who left the world’s largest retailer in March, could face more than two years in prison as part of his settlement in the controversy that involved the alleged misappropriation of some $500,000, the Journal reported.

Coughlin resigned as part of an internal Wal-Mart probe into the unauthorized use of corporate gift cards and other reimbursements. The retailer then took its findings to the U.S Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, which pursued a federal case against the company’s former No. 2 executive.

Coughlin had used in his defense the argument that the money was spent as part of an anti-union operation, but investigators have found no evidence of any spending or activity that indicates such an operation ever existed. Wal-Mart has described the story as a “complete fabrication.”

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