Sam's Club, Tyson Employees Charged With Taking Kickbacks

by Gwen Moritz  on Friday, Mar. 9, 2012 3:21 pm  

Separate federal criminal indictments were unsealed last month charging an employee of Sam's Club and an employee of Tyson Foods Inc. with accepting kickbacks from vendors.

The vendors were also charged in the indictments, which were handed down by a grand jury in Fayetteville on Jan. 25 and unsealed when the defendants were arraigned on Feb. 15. Not guilty pleas have been entered by all four men, Mark Hoffman and David Workman in the Sam's Club case and Roger D. Turney and Bobby D. Griffith in the Tyson case.

In the Sam's Club case, Hoffman, a senior buyer of dry goods and coffee for the wholesale club division of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., allegedly accepted almost $250,000 from a Florida coffee broker between 2003 and 2007.

Hoffman and David Workman, who owned Mountain Falls Inc. of Cypress Gardens, Fla., are jointly charged with one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and one count of aiding and abetting mail fraud.

In the Tyson case, Bobby D. Griffith, majority owner of B&W Millwrights of Clarksville, allegedly paid Roger D. Turney, engineer at the Tyson complex in Clarksville, a $25,000 kickback for falsifying bids on a 2007 construction job to ensure B&W got the contract.

Griffith and Turney were jointly charged with four counts of aiding and abetting mail fraud and a single count of money laundering.

In both cases, the corporate employees allegedly set up dummy companies to which the vendors paid kickbacks.

Hoffman's company was called Moonlight Support Services, which was incorporated with the Arkansas Secretary of State's office in October 2003.

The indictment alleges that Hoffman and Workman established the company in the name of an unindicted co-conspirator, who was not named. The Secretary of State's office lists the incorporator of Moonlight Support Services as K. Walsh and the registered agent as Stacie Hoffman of Rogers.

According to the indictment, Hoffman solicited kickback payments from Workman, who was a broker for Bay Area Coffee. The indictment includes no other information about Bay Area Coffee, but a company by that name in Benicia, Calif., lists Sam's Club as a distributor on its website.

Workman wrote kickback checks, federal prosecutors allege, from his Mountain Falls Inc. to Moonlight Support Services and mailed them from Florida to a post office box in Rogers.

Hoffman received some $245,800 this way over about four years, according to the indictment.

The case was assigned to U.S. District Judge Robert Dawson of Fort Smith after U.S. District Judge Jimm Larry Hendren of Fayetteville recused himself, and a trial has been tentatively set to start on April 5.



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