A former vice president of shoe manufacturer Vans Inc. has pleaded guilty to charges that he took $4.7 million in kickbacks and bribes from Chinese manufacturers of Vans shoes and clothing.


Scott Andrew Brabson, the former vice president of sourcing who oversaw the company's manufacturing operations between November 1997 and December 2000, also allegedly made up e-mails in an attempt to exonerate himself.


Brabson, 49, is expected to serve between 57 and 71 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to the charges of conspiracy, foreign travel to promote bribery, "honest services" wire fraud and money laundering.


Based in Santa Fe Springs, Vans was acquired last year by VF Corp. in Greensboro, N.C.


According to the charges, brought by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Los Angeles, Brabson and a development consultant, Jay William Rosendahl, told Chinese factories that in order to continue receiving orders they would need to pay kickbacks amounting to about 3 percent of Vans' orders.


After he left the company, Brabson moved $3 million of that money into accounts with a Luxembourg bank and $1.3 million to Hong Kong accounts for Rosenthal. Rosenthal, 47, is expected to plead guilty to the same four charges on Thursday (Feb. 3).


Brabson also admitted he manufactured e-mails in the spring of 2004 after he and Rosenthal lost an $8 million arbitration award in a suit filed by Vans against them. He also provided the e-mails to an investigator who worked for a law firm that filed a securities class action suit against Vans.


The plea agreement resulted from an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service's criminal investigation division, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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