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April 4, 2008

Attacking a not-so-hefty white-collar sentence

Writing for Bloomberg.com, commentator Ann Woolner assails the below-guideline sentence recently given to a high-profile white-collar defendant.  Her sharp commentary, which is titled "Thieving Wal-Mart Boss Does Time at Banquet Table," begins this way:

Here is a little story about a big man who embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from his employer, cheated the U.S. Treasury and will serve not a day in jail for it.  If Thomas Coughlin, Wal-Mart's former No. 2 executive, has learned anything from his encounter with the law, it is how to manipulate the justice system.

For one thing, because of poor health he gets to stay home and avoid even the most accommodating of white-collar prison camps, as those un-jails are dubbed.  Then there is his notion of community service. Less imaginative felons wind up collecting highway trash. Coughlin goes to a party.

It's true. Coughlin persuaded his probation officer to let him count as community service the hours he spent last month schmoozing with old hunting buddies at a banquet for the National Wild Turkey Federation, local chapter. Well, why not? The event raised money for the nonprofit, conservation group, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, which first reported Coughlin's big night out. So what if the federation promotes killing wild turkeys while working to conserve them?

Coughlin got to count not only his time at the banquet, but time spent attending planning meetings and rounding up auction items.  No spooning out soup to the homeless for this millionaire.  The sheer pleasure of being out of the house and among the 350 banquet-goers was itself a bonus. Except for approved forays, he and his ankle bracelet are spending his 27-month sentence within 10 feet of his house, which sits on a 2,000-acre ranch near Centerton, Arkansas.

April 4, 2008 at 07:59 AM | Permalink


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would she write the same article if they have gave him 20 years? One time it is reversed someone gets a break vs a stupid sentence driven by the DOJ and some idiot wrties about it. Where is she when it goes the other way. She talks about new found freedom by federal judges they should have freedom to sentence.
this lady should go put her head back in the sand!

Posted by: | Apr 4, 2008 1:30:42 PM

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