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Last Updated: Friday, 11 August 2006, 21:25 GMT 22:25 UK
Wal-Mart boss sentenced for theft
Tom Coughlin
Coughlin was deemed too sick to go to jail
Former Wal-Mart vice chairman Tom Coughlin has been sentenced to 27 months of home confinement for stealing thousands of pounds from his employer.

Coughlin was also ordered to pay a $50,000 (26,441) fine and a further $400,000 in restitution.

US District Judge Robert Dawson declined to sentence him to jail after doctors had testified his health was too poor for him to go to prison.

Prosecutors had called for him to be jailed for at least six months.

Coughlin had faced a maximum of 28 years in prison on five counts of wire fraud and one count of filing a false tax return and fines up to $1.35m.

'Fragile'

However, his doctor Joel Carver testified that the 57-year-old was "too fragile" for a prison sentence as he suffered from a number of ailments including diabetes, cardiac disease, sleep apnea, and arterial blockage.

Meanwhile, the judge added that Coughlin had also been punished by the publicity surrounding the case.

Coughlin, a close friend of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton, was forced to resign in March last year when an internal inquiry revealed his misuse of company gift vouchers.

It was later alleged he had also misused his expense account to buy personal items.

Wal-Mart had accused Coughlin of stealing as much as $500,000, however, he later pleaded guilty to a smaller sum that included $6,500 for his share of a private hunting lease.




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