Wal-Mart Ex-Exec Has Plea Deal

A published report says Thomas Coughlin will plead guilty to wire fraud and tax evasion.
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Thomas Coughlin, the former vice chairman at

Wal-Mart

(WMT) - Get Report

, is set to plead guilty to charges of wire fraud and tax evasion, according to a published report Friday.

Coughlin resigned from Wal-Mart in March during an internal investigation into expense accounting, and he faced allegations that he had misappropriated about $500,000 in company finances.

The plea deal was reported by

The Wall Street Journal's

online edition, which cited people who had knowledge of the agreement prosecutors and Coughlin have reached. The report indicated that federal sentencing guidelines may mean Coughlin will be facing a prison sentence of more than two years.

Coughlin will enter guilty pleas to five counts of wire fraud and one of tax evasion, the

Journal

reported, again citing people who were familiar with the situation. A court hearing will be held later this month on the arrangement, the report stated.

For several months, Coughlin has been expected to say that the expense-accounting in question was related to an antiunion campaign at Wal-Mart. The alleged campaign supposedly involved paying union members for information about their activities, but Wal-Mart has said no such program existed.

Coughlin was good friends with Wal-Mart's late founder Sam Walton. He has been said to have joined Walton on several hunting trips and share with him a dislike for organized labor.