Former employees of footwear and apparel company Vans Inc have been sentenced to 71 months in prison for obtaining $4.7 million in bribes and kickbacks from Chinese factories that made Vans merchandise.

Ex-vice president Scott Andrew Brabson, along with another defendant, Jay William Rosendahl, were given the federal prison sentence by United States District Judge John Walter.

In addition to the prison sentences, Judge Walter ordered both defendants to pay $4.7m in restitution to Vans.

Earlier this year, each defendant pleaded guilty to four felony charges: conspiracy, foreign travel to promote bribery, 'honest services' wire fraud and money laundering.

Between November 1997 and December 2000, Brabson was the vice president of sourcing for the Santa Fe Springs-based Vans, a position which involved overseeing the company's manufacturing operation.

Brabson arranged for Vans to hire Rosendahl as a product development consultant in February 1999.

Brabson and Rosendahl met with owners and managers of Chinese factories and informed them that in order to continue receiving product orders from Vans, the factories would have to send kickbacks amounting to 3 per cent of Vans' orders.

The defendants provided the factories with the number of a Hong Kong bank account, and the factories wire-transferred the kickbacks into the account they had established under the name StreamFlow Holdings Limited.

When he pleaded guilty earlier this year, Brabson acknowledged that he fabricated e-mails and other communications that purported to be internal Vans documents.