DALLAS — Dozens of tips regarding commercial bribery in fashion and other industries have been conveyed to the U.S. Attorney’s office here in the wake of a highly publicized case of a former housewares buyer at J.C. Penney Co., who was convicted of taking graft from suppliers.
“We’ve sort of been inundated with tips, some in our district and some outside,” said Paul Coggins, U.S. Attorney in the Dallas office. “Some are extremely specific, such as, ‘Look at this company and this individual and these suppliers.”‘ Coggins’ district covers 100 counties in North Texas, including Dallas, Fort Worth, Lubbock and Amarillo.
Coggins declined to say how many tips related to the fashion industry, pointing out that he’s prohibited by law from revealing companies or individuals who are under investigation. The tips are being pursued, he noted.
“We’re being told that these kinds of commercial bribery are very systemic in some industries,” he said. “Commercial bribery is probably a much bigger problem than any of us realize.”
The tips come from whistle-blowers who have heard about the case of the Penney’s buyer. “They say, ‘Wait a second, this happens in my industry too,’ and often it’s somebody who feels shut out,” Coggins noted.