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Former Wal-Mart exec files complaint
Whistleblower was fired after reporting colleague's fraudulent scheme, newspaper report says.
May 24, 2005: 9:01 AM EDT

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - One of Wal-Mart's former executives filed a complaint with the Labor Department, accusing the retail giant of violating federal whistleblower rules when it fired him, according to a newspaper report.

Jared Bowen, a former vice president for Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (up $0.67 to $47.85, Research), provided information about a scheme allegedly hatched by one of the company's executives, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday. Wal-Mart asked Chairman Thomas Coughlin to step down after investigating him for defrauding the company of as much as $500,000 through expense-account abuses and false invoices, said the Journal.

Coughlin resigned before his board term was set to expire in June.

Bowen, 31, was terminated about a week after Coughlin resigned in March, said the Journal, and a copy of his exit interview said he was fired for a "loss of confidence" in him as a company officer. Wal-Mart has previously said Bowen was terminated because he took part in Coughlin's scheme, but the company recently declined to comment, according to the Journal.

Bowen's complaint claims that Wal-Mart, based in Bentonville, Ark., violated a provision of the federal Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which protects whistleblowers, the Journal reports.

Bowen has asked for his $250,000-a-year job back, as well as back pay with interest and damages. Wal-Mart referred the case to the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas.  Top of page

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