Northampton

Paul and Sandra Dunham admit US fraud charges

Paul and Sandra Dunham Image copyright PA
Image caption Paul and Sandra Dunham admitted fraud offences at the US company they used to work for

A British couple accused of defrauding the US company they worked for have admitted the charges against them.

Paul and Sandra Dunham, from Collingtree, Northamptonshire, had always denied any wrongdoing and had fought extradition to the US.

But they admitted $1m (£640,000) of expenses fraud and money laundering in plea agreements with US authorities.

The pair had spent the money on a Barbados timeshare, luxury bedding and a dog sofa.

A US Department of Justice spokeswoman said other personal expenses, falsely described as business expenditure, included "personal legal fees, expensive furniture, and a domed pet residence".

In an agreement with the US Attorney in Maryland, both admitted "conspiracy to commit wire fraud".

Mr Dunham, 59, pleaded guilty to an additional charge of money laundering.

Between 2002 and 2009, the pair had charged personal expenses to their corporate credit cards when they worked for PACE, an electronics repair company.

They had also billed the European arm of the company for expenses they had already claimed from the worldwide arm.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Paul Dunham also admitted money laundering in a plea agreement with US authorities

The couple had sought to avoid extradition to the US by appealing to the High Court and the European Court of Human Rights, but their bids were rejected.

In May, Mr and Mrs Dunham were taken to hospital on the day they were due to report to police and be flown out of the UK.

On 22 May, they were handed over to US Marshalls at Heathrow's Terminal Four by officers from the Met Police's extradition unit.

Earlier this month, their trial in the US was postponed until next year.

The couple had been staying with friends in North Carolina who offered their house as collateral.

Image caption The home of Paul and Sandra Dunham in Collingtree, Northamptonshire,

Mr and Mrs Dunham have agreed to pay back the $1m they claimed.

Mr Dunham faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for the expenses fraud and money laundering.

Because of her plea agreement, his wife, 58, will be sentenced to 60 days in prison.

The pair will be sentenced in January.

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