Wal-Mart, the world’s biggest retailer, accused Coughlin, 57, of wrongly claiming reimbursement for hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of items including hunting gear, dog food, underwear, beef jerky and a stuffed wild boar. Coughlin was head of theft prevention when he joined the company in 1978.
In January, Coughlin pleaded guilty to five counts of wire fraud and a single count of failing to report income from the fraud on his 2000 federal tax return. At the time of Coughlin’s guilty plea, Wal-Mart called the case “embarrassing and painful.”
He was sentenced in a hearing today before U.S. District Judge Robert T. Dawson in Fort Smith, Arkansas.
Coughlin, a friend of the late Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton, was the retailer’s second-ranking executive before he retired in January 2005. Coughlin’s salary and bonus amounted to $3.9 million in 2005 and 2004, $3.2 million in 2003 and $1.8 million in 2002, according to Bloomberg data.
Prosecutors said Coughlin committed his thefts with the help of Robert E. Hey Jr., Wal-Mart’s director of operations development. Hey pleaded guilty to three counts of wire fraud in November and was sentenced to six months probation and a $3,300 fine. As part of a plea agreement, Hey was required to cooperate with the government’s case against Coughlin.