Extradition fight businessman Paul Dunham jailed in US

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 businessman who fought extradition to the US has been jailed for four years by a court in Maryland for his part in a $1m (£652,000) expenses fraud.

Paul Dunham, 59, from Collingtree, Northamptonshire, had denied any wrongdoing but was flown to the US from Britain in May.

In December, he and his wife Sandra, 58, made plea agreements with the US authorities, admitting fraud.

Under the arrangement, she was spared jail and sentenced to home confinement.

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

Dunham, who pleaded guilty to an additional charge of money laundering, had faced a possible 20-year jail sentence.

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

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

Repatriation possible

As legal measures were taken to return them to the US, the couple sought to avoid extradition, appealing unsuccessfully to the High Court and the European Court of Human Rights.

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

Later in the month, they were handed over to US Marshalls at Heathrow's Terminal Four.

Michael Evans, Dunham's solicitor, said 11 other charges were dismissed against him at the Maryland District Court in Greenbelt as part of a plea deal.

"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," he said.

US district judge Paul W Grimm said Dunham's prison term would be followed by three years of supervised release.

Sandra Dunham was accused of eight counts of fraud for allegedly aiding and abetting him.

Her solicitor said she would return to the UK in a few weeks.

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