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Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said in a filing Thursday that a fired vice president who claims he deserves whistleblower protection was dishonest, repeating claims that he helped cover up a colleague’s scheme to pocket cash from gift cards and fake invoices. In papers filed Thursday with the U.S. Labor Department, the world’s largest retailer called former vice president Jared Bowen dishonest. It also repeated allegations that former vice chairman Tom Coughlin used gift cards and bogus invoices to “finance his personal acquisitions.” The company says Coughlin misappropriated hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of a decade. The filing singles out an $8,500 all-terrain vehicle, a $10,000 custom hunting vehicle and a $30,000 hunting lease as examples of Coughlin’s alleged misspending. Through his attorney, Coughlin has denied wrongdoing. The filing says Coughlin used subordinates to help with the scheme, and many of them worked in the department run by Bowen. The report says Bowen’s predecessor confessed to siphoning company money. Wal-Mart also says Bowen had falsified college transcripts to get hired at company headquarters in 1996. In a March 30 complaint to the Labor Department, Bowen claimed that he was fired that day after helping uncover alleged misspending by Coughlin. Bowen argues the dismissal violated a federal law that bars companies from punishing employees who report corporate wrongdoing. But Wal-Mart has maintained that Bowen was fired for cause, and claims he used the “whistleblower” status to cover for his own wrongdoing. Bowen’s attorney, Steve Kardell of Dallas, didn’t immediately return a phone call Thursday. Bowen has asked the Labor Department to order Wal-Mart to give him his job back and compensate him for missed pay and benefits. Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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