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Ex-employees sentenced in HD fraud case


Two of the three figures involved in an elaborate fraud scheme that involved Home Depot vendor kickbacks from 2002 to 2007 were sentenced this week.

James Robinson, a former divisional merchandise manager for hard flooring at Home Depot received a sentence of 63 months in prison. Ronald Johnston, the company’s global product merchant for rugs, was sentenced to 46 months in prison. Both men were also ordered to pay $1.8 million.

Athird figure, Anthony Tesvich, is expected to be sentenced in June.


Tesvich, a former global product development merchant was forced to resign in 2005 after internal security officers suspected him of accepting $4,900 a month in bribes from one supplier, according to federal investigators. At that point, Tesvich was suspected of funneling “hundreds of thousands of dollars and other items of value” to two co-co-conspirators who continued to insure that certain vendors’ products were included in Home Depot’s flooring assortment, according to the charges. Tesvich referred to the cash payments as “French fries” and “milk shakes,” prosecutors allege. The pay-offs and the gifts allegedly included a 2004 Cadillac Escalade, two homes in Gallatin, Tenn., and $300,000 in appliances, home theater and fitness equipment.

Robinson and Johnston left Home Depot shortly before they were interviewed by federal agents on July 10, 2007.

The crime has led to a zero-tolerance vendor-relations policy that prevents executives from receiving any money from vendors, including small entertainment expenses.

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