Northampton Businessman Paul Dunham Jailed For 4 Years

5 February 2015, 17:21 | Updated: 5 February 2015, 17:47

A businessman from Northampton has been given four years in prison, for defrauding the US company he used to work for out of $1 million.

Paul Dunham, 59, and his wife Sandra, 58, have always maintained their innocence, and have shown Heart documents they say prove they are not guilty.

The couple worked for the American owners of the Bletchley firm PACE and had moved from the UK to America.

A statement on the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Maryland said the couple were provided with corporate credit cards, which they then used to fraudulently claim expenses.

Between 2002 and 2009, they charged personal expenses and submitted vouchers to Pace for reimbursement that falsely described the expenditures as business expenses, the statement said.

The pair were extradited to the US in May last year, but on the day they were due to go they took an overdose at their home in Collingtree and were taken to hospital.

Shortly after that, their extradition bid failed, and the pair were sent to a prison in the US. Afterwards, they were allowed to stay at a friends under house arrest. 

Sanda Dunham was given a sixty day sentence last week, and given the time she has already spent in prison, she will be returning to the UK by the end of the month.

Mr Dunham pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to commit wire fraud and one of money laundering. A further 11 alleged counts have been dismissed.

Michael Evans, the Dunhams' UK solicitor at Kaim Todner said: "Paul Dunham, as part of a plea agreement with the US prosecutor, has today been sentenced in Maryland District Court to 48 months incarceration having pleaded guilty to 2 counts (one of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and the other of money laundering).  11 further alleged counts are entirely dismissed.

"The US Prosecutors have agreed that they will not attempt to block Paul's repatriation to the UK and I will now work with the Ministry of Justice to facilitate his return to serve his sentence in the UK, near to his wife and grandchildren.  I  look forward to his safe return to the UK."

Gary Procter and Deborah Boardman, US Defence attorneys for Paul and Sandra Dunham respectively, said after today's sentencing hearing: "It has been an honour and a pleasure to represent Paul and Sandra Dunham.

"They have been through an extraordinary ordeal over the past five years. We are disappointed that Paul will have to spend additional time in prison before he is reunited with his family and friends in the UK, but he can finally see light at the end of this long, dark tunnel.

"As for Sandra, we are very pleased that she will be returning to the UK in a couple weeks where she will await Paul's return."