Being involved in any way to a fraud case can put a damper on any company’s operations. Such is the case being experienced now by Sudbury mining supply company Atlas Copco even after the perpetrators were already behind bars.
A Challenging Time
3 of the 4 men involved in the $24M fraud case were employees of Atlas Copco. The scheme was about overbilling Atlas Copco for employee benefits and then pocketing any extra money. The last two men involved in the scheme were sent to jail more than a week ago.
Atlas Copco Canada president Louka Geladi shares that their first reaction was to turn on a new page but admits that Atlas Copco’s employees and the management itself still feels that they are still feeling touchy about the whole affair.
It is to be noted that some managers of Atlas Copco were involved in the case and people who used to work with them or knew them are still in the company.
Justice was Served
Former Sudbury office manager Dirk Plate received a sentence of five years in prison plus an order to repay $77,000. He is 72 years old. Meanwhile, 72 years old Montreal stockbroker Paul Caron was ordered to pay back $10 million and was sentenced to six and a half years in jail. Caron acted as his own lawyer and tried to downplay his role in the fraud scheme during the trial. He also asked the court for compassion and said he simply did not know when to stop, hence he continued with his scheme for years. The jury believed that Caron and Plate defrauded Atlas Copco out of $24 million after a lengthy trial this spring which took 40 days.
Atlas Copco’s former human resources manager Leo Caron pleaded guilty and was sentenced to five years in prison. Former finance manager of Atlas Copco’s Sudbury office David Hillier avoided criminal charges when decided to testify against his co-conspirators and return the $400,000 he stole from the company.
The company president Louka Geladi shares that all the news and publicity that came with the lengthy trial did not seem to have a negative effect on the company’s business. They did get questions regarding how long the fraud has been going on and why they were not able to discover it sooner but he says that customers still know their reputation and trusts them.
As of now, Geladi says that they were not able to recover any of the $24 million yet. Atlas Copco does have a civil suit against the perpetrators and it is noted that their sentencing did include a forfeiture order which will allow the court to seize all properties and money connected to the crime.
Concerned about fraud in your business? Employee theft and fraud do not choose victims. Know that any organization is vulnerable to fraud…question is, are you doing what you can to prevent business fraud?