Sudbury

Sudbury company hopes to move on after $24M fraud

The Sudbury mining supply company at the centre of a $24 million dollar fraud is trying to move on now that the perpetrators are behind bars.

3 of the 4 men involved in the scheme were Atlas Copco employees

It's alleged the $24 million fraud scheme was run by employees at Atlas Copco's Sudbury office in the Walden Industrial Park. (Erik White/CBC)

The Sudbury mining supply company at the centre of a $24 million fraud is trying to move on now that perpetrators are behind bars.

Last week, the final two men who were part of of a scheme to overbill Atlas Copco for employee benefits and pocket the extra money were sent to jail.

"The first reaction was OK, time to turn the page," says Louka Geladi, the president of Atlas Copco Canada.

He says this was a "sensitive" time for his company and its employees.

"Because there were managers of Atlas Copco involved, there are still people working in the company who knew those managers."

Montreal stockbroker Paul Caron, 72, was sentenced last week to six and a half years and ordered to pay back $10 million, while former Sudbury office manager Dirk Plate, also 72, received five years in prison, plus an order to re-pay $77,000. 

The sentences came at the end of of lengthy jury trial, which sat for 40 days in a Sudbury courtroom this spring.

Leo Caron, Atlas Copco's former human resources manager, was previously sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty.

David Hillier, the former finance manager at the company's Sudbury office, avoided criminal charges by returning the $400,000 he says he stole and agreeing to testify against his co-conspirators.

Geladi says the fraud and the publicity surrounding the long trial doesn't seem to have hurt the company's business.

"Of course, we got those questions 'How long? Why didn't you see it?' And those things, but business wise, they know our reputation and the trust was still there," he says. 

Geladi says so far none of the $24 million has been recovered, but he says the company does have a civil suit against the men involved and last week's sentencing included a forfeiture order giving the court power to seize money and property connected with the crime. 

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