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Former company director sentenced for £12 million bribery scheme

27 Mehefin, 2019 | Eitemau newyddion

Carole Ann Hodson was sentenced today at Wolverhampton Crown Court over a bribery scheme she operated to secure £12m worth of contracts for ALCA Fasteners Ltd, a company she owned at the time.

Hodson received:

  • 2 years imprisonment
  • Director disqualification for 7 years
  • Confiscation Order of £4,494,541.46 and
  • Costs of £478,351 to the SFO.

The scheme, which operated between 2011 and 2016 whilst Hodson was the Managing Director and majority owner, saw nearly £300,000 of bribes paid to Terje Moe, a purchasing manager employed by the Würth Group of companies, a customer of ALCA Fasteners.

In sentencing remarks HHJ Nawaz said:

“This type of offending strikes at the heart of commercial practice and erodes the confidence the public place in those engaged in commercial practices. Anyone engaged in such practices should expect an immediate custodial sentence so that it sends a message and acts as a deterrent. That applies even to someone of good character. The offending was deliberate, for financial gain, over a sustained period and she took steps to cover the trail of what was happening.”

“In my judgement the deterrent element can only be achieved with an immediate custodial sentence.”        

Under Hodson’s bribery scheme, which continued until Moe’s retirement, Moe would receive 2.5% of the total of every order made by his company to ALCA Fasteners.

The bribes, which were paid in monthly cash instalments, came as 64 separate payments over the period. On one occasion, Ms Hodson also sent bespoke jewellery to Moe in a brown envelope placed within a shipment to his employer.

False invoices were created to justify the cash transfers, recorded in ALCA Fasteners’ accounts as ‘sales commission payments’ or other payments not related to genuine transactions, with Hodson later lying to her company’s auditors to disguise the true nature of the payments. To maintain the value of her company prior to selling it in 2017, Hodson then lied to the purchasers by claiming that the company had not been involved in any unlawful conduct.

The SFO began investigating the affairs of the company, including its officers, employees, agents and people associated with it, on 20 December 2017 following a referral by the company’s current owners and directors.

No further action will be taken against the company.

The SFO would also like to thank the Norwegian National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime for their assistance in this matter.

NOTES TO EDITORS

  1. Carole Ann Hodson (63) pleaded guilty at Walsall Magistrates’ Court on Thursday 30th May 2019.
  2. Terje Moe, the purchasing manager, pleaded guilty to two charges relating to the receipt of bribes, contrary to the Norwegian Criminal Code, on 6 July 2018 in Norway.
  3. The SFO investigation began on 20 December 2017 following a voluntary referral by the current owners and directors of ALCA Fasteners Ltd.
  4. The bribery scheme comprised of 64 payments made between 2011 and 2016, totalling £293,234.75, in relation to contracts worth approximately £12m in total.
  5. More information on the ALCA Fasteners case can be found on the case page here.