Wal-Mart gets dinged by $81 million fine, some of it stemming from Missouri crimes

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Wal-Mart spent a tough day in court, but fines wont hurt its pocketbook
  • Wal-Mart spent a tough day in court, but fines won't hurt its pocketbook

Wal-Mart settled up on three criminal lawsuits on Tuesday, one of them coming out of Kansas City.

In all, the massive retailer will pay out $81.6 million in fines for various environmental transgressions.

Wal-Mart admitted guilt to charges in Kansas City federal court that it sent 2 million pounds worth of regulated products like liquid pesticides from its return centers to a Neosho, Missouri-based recycling company called Greenleaf LLC, which then mixed them together and sold them back to customers in violation of federal laws.

Greenleaf itself paid a $200,000 penalty in 2009.

For those violations, Wal-Mart must pay $11 million in fines to the feds plus a $3 million fine to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources for its pesticide regulation program.

"This tough financial penalty holds Wal-Mart accountable for its reckless and illegal business practices that threatened both the public and the environment," said Tammy Dickinson, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, in a statement from the Justice Department. "Truckloads of hazardous products, including more than 2 million pounds of pesticides, were improperly handled under Wal-Mart's contract. Today's criminal fine should send a message to companies of all sizes that they will be held accountable to follow federal environmental laws."

The $81.6 million in aggregate fines may sound like a tough penalty, but Wal-Mart's 2012 annual report said it made $443.9 billion in net sales last year, which means it makes about $121.6 million a day.

The retailer will have paid off the fines not long after lunch time tomorrow.

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