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2004-11-19
Bentonville, AR. Former Wal-Mart Exec Took Supplier Kickbacks

They say the hand is faster than the eye, which is why bribes and kickbacks are so rarely witnessed in the business world, yet so often surmised. In the case of one Wal-Mart worker, his hands were not as fast as others' eyes. Cliff Pruitt, Jr., who once was a regional vice president of Wal-Mart, was using his office to shake down at least one supplier. Pruitt pleaded guilty this week to accepting kickbacks amounting to at least $80,00, according to the Associated Press, from a Wal-Mart supplier. According to the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, "Pruitt used his position at Wal-Mart to obtain kickbacks from certain suppliers to Wal-Mart stores in Pruitt's region." The former Wal-Mart executive now faces the everyday sentence of up to 20 years in prison, and a $250,000 fine -- unless he tries to bargain a discount for himself with state officials.

What you can do: How much of this kind of illegal activity goes on between Wal-Mart employees, and the vendors who rely on the retail giant for their livelihood? Suppliers appear to be in a very subservient position to Wal-Mart, unable to do much more than accept terms as offered by Wal-Mart. In this case, to do business with Wal-Mart, meant paying people off. As Wal-Mart likes to say, "Our people make the difference." In this case, the difference was about $80,000.










 
 
"Norman has become the guru of the anti-Wal-Mart movement" ~ 60 Minutes

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