Two men are currently on trial in Sudbury, Canada, charged with carrying out a CAN$24 million fraud against their employer, construction multinational Atlas Copco.

Paul Caron, 67, and Dirk Plate, 68, are both charged with the Canada-specific offence of ‘fraud over $5,000’.

Another Atlas Copco employee, Leo Caron, was charged in 2012, and pleaded guilty to fraud the following year. He was sentenced to five years in prison.

Reports from the court state that, between 2001 and 2007, Atlas Copco was billed CAN$ 32 million for its employee benefits programme by Montreal-based insurance broker, Paul Caron, who was acting as a middle man between Atlas Copco and its benefits provider.

The crown alleges the bill should have been closer to CAN$ 7 million.

The crown further alleges that Mr Caron stole the money with the help of Atlas Copco employees, one of whom, Dirk Plate, is also on trial, charged with fraud.

Mr Plate originally worked for Atlas Copco in his native Netherlands, before being transferred to the company’s Canadian operation in 1993, becoming general manager at the Sudbury office in 2002.

It is alleged that Mr Plate, unhappy with his company pension package, chose to defraud Atlas Copco, along with Paul Caron and Atlas Copco’s then finance manager, David Hillier.

Mr Hillier will not stand trial, however, as he agreed to testify against the two charged men in exchange for immunity from prosecution. He has also repaid the CAN$ 400,000 he admits to having taken.

Both Paul Caron and Dirk Plate have pleaded not guilty to the charges. The trial continues.

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