A former Sam's Club buyer who admitted taking more than $245,000 in kickbacks from an Oklahoma man has been sentenced to probation.
Mark Hoffman, who was a senior buyer for Sam's Club, was accused of accepting kickbacks from David Workman, an Oklahoma City broker for Bay Area Coffee, which sold coffee to Sam's Club.
Both men pleaded guilty to mail fraud in April, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported (http://is.gd/yYz0m8 ). U.S. District Judge Robert Dawson sentenced each of them Tuesday to three years of probation and fined them each $5,000.
Hoffman was also ordered to forfeit the $245,800 in kickbacks he took from Workman. That money will go to the Arkansas attorney general's office, which has the discretion to distribute it to victims or to federal and state agencies, according to the U.S. attorney's office.
According to investigators, Hoffman solicited kickbacks from Workman for four years, beginning in 2003, so that Workman could continue selling coffee to Sam's Club.
Before he was sentenced, Hoffman told Dawson that he became addicted to pain medication after he suffered a severe leg injury and that he was taking the medication when he decided to seek the kickbacks.
"I was in no condition to make decisions of this magnitude," Hoffman said.
Workman's attorney Tim Buckley, of Fayetteville, asked Dawson to give his client probation, saying Workman had never committed a crime before and wanted to get his life back on track.