Adidas Sales Director to Plead Guilty
In Connection With Alleged Scheme at Retailer
Timothy McCool, director of apparel sales for Adidas America, has agreed to plead guilty in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama to charges that he conspired to submit false statements to the auditors of Just For Feet Inc., a now-bankrupt retailer, and to falsify JFF's books and records, the government said Aug. 28 (United States v. McCool, N.D. Ala., N.A., 8/28/03).
Justice Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation officials said McCool in 1999 signed an "audit confirmation letter" provided to him by an executive vice president of JFF, knowing it contained false information. The letter, which was submitted to JFF's auditors, misrepresented that Adidas owed JFF $2.2 million. According to the indictment, the amount actually owed was about $40,000.
McCool, as national director of sales for Adidas at the time, was responsible for setting sales and marketing strategies at retail establishments that carried Adidas products, such as JFF.
Marc Blackman, attorney for McCool, refused to comment through a spokeswoman.
Adidas, which still employs McCool, said in a statement that McCool "made an imprudent mistake many years ago when he signed a document without fully understanding how the information was going to be used." The company also stressed that "at no point has the [Justice Department] or any other investigating body ever questioned Adidas' own accounting or internal controls."
McCool's agreement comes amid an ongoing investigation into JFF's finances, U.S. Attorney Alice Martin, and FBI and Justice officials said. Before it filed for bankruptcy in 1999, JFF had grown into the second-largest athletic shoe retailer in the United States.
McCool will enter a formal plea before the court at an as yet unscheduled date, according to the government. He faces a maximum of five years in jail and a $250,000 fine. He is cooperating with the...