When fiction became fact.

Former 'Welsh Slate' directors jailed

Published:  23 September, 2009

NW WALES: Three former senior executives of Alfred McAlpine Slate were given jail sentences, after admitting they had deliberately overstated the company's production and sales figures for some years.

The police investigation found over £10m of the company's reported debtors were fiction.

Auditors were deliberately misled shown stockpiles of crates of roofing slate with the outer crates full but the inner crates empty. Customer letters were created to give the impression that debtors' payments were in the pipeline, delivery notes and transportation invoices for non-existent consignments were forged.

Alfred McAlpine Slate was wholly owned by Alfred McAlpine Plc. It represented about two or three percent of McAlpine turnover and employed around 400 workers at its quarry near Bangor.

Systematic deception was discovered in 2007 by Alfred McAlpine which alerted North Wales Police, triggering a Serious Fraud Office investigation.

In November 2008 three Welsh Slate executives were charged: Christopher Law, managing director; Geraint Roberts, operations director; and Paul Harvey, head of sales.

All three subsequently pleaded guilty to fraudulent trading and sentenced to two and a half years, 16 months and 10 months imprisonment, respectively.

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