Having pleaded guilty to bribery at the end of May, the former managing director and majority owner of ALCA Fasteners Ltd, has now been sentenced to two years imprisonment, director disqualification, and a confiscation order of nearly GB£4.5 million.
Carole Ann Hodson pleaded guilty at Walsall Magistrates’ Court, on 30th May 2019, to bribery in relation to a scheme to secure GB£12 million worth of contracts for ALCA Fasteners Ltd, a company she owned at the time.
On 27th June, at Wolverhampton Crown Court, she was sentenced to two years imprisonment and disqualification as a director for seven years. Additionally, a confiscation order (made under UK law against a convicted defendant ordering them to pay the amount they benefited from crime) of nearly GB£4.5 million was applied, with costs of GB£478,351 awarded to the investigating Serious Fraud Office.
The bribery scheme, which operated between 2011 and 2016 whilst Hodson was the managing director and majority owner, saw nearly GB£300,000 of bribes paid to Terje Moe, a purchasing manager employed by the Würth Group, an ALCA customer.
Under the scheme, which continued until his retirement, Moe would receive 2.5% of the total of every order made by his company to ALCA Fasteners. The bribes were paid in 64 monthly cash payments.
Terje Moe pleaded guilty to two charges relating to the receipt of bribes, contrary to the Norwegian Criminal Code, on 6th July 2018.
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.
In sentencing HH Judge 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.”
The SFO began investigating the affairs of the company in December 2017 following a referral by the Company’s current owners and directors. The SFO has now confirmed that no further action will be taken against the company.
Source: Fastener and Fixing