Four year term for UK businessman

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Published: Thursday 5th February 2015 by The News Editor

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A British businessman has been sentenced to four years in jail by a US court over a £1 million expenses fraud, officials said

Paul Dunham, 59, was sentenced for one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one of money laundering over a scheme in which h e and his wife Sandra used fraudulent expenses claims to pay for a time share in Barbados, luxury bedding for their home, a dog sofa and other personal expenses, the US Justice Department said.

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

Mr Evans added: “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.”

A Justice Department spokeswoman said US district judge Paul W Grimm today sentenced Dunham to four years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release.

She added: “Between 2002 and 2009, Paul and Sandra Dunham fraudulently charged personal expenses to their corporate credit cards and submitted vouchers to Pace for reimbursement that falsely described the expenditures as business expenses.

“For example, Paul Dunham represented that 3,007 US dollars had been spent on meals during business meetings, when in fact the money was spent on luxury bedding for his upscale North Carolina residence.

“Sandra Dunham sought reimbursement for 8,397 US dollars which she represented as expenses incurred to cancel a vacation due to a business meeting, when these expenses were actually mortgage payments the couple made on two separate time share units the couple had purchased in Barbados.

“Other personal expenses which were falsely described as business expenditures included personal legal fees, expensive furniture, a domed pet residence and a dog sofa.”

The Dunhams were extradited to the US last May, days after they attempted to take their own lives at their Northampton home.

The couple were taken to hospital after they took a drug overdose the night before they were due to hand themselves in to police and in turn to US marshals.

Journalists due to take a statement outside their home alerted police when the couple did not answer the door.

The previous month they had lost a High Court battle against extradition to stand trial over fraud charges relating to Mr Dunham’s company, Pace.

Mr Dunham, who was chief executive, president and a 20% shareholder in the US company which manufactured soldering irons for the electronics industry, was indicted on 13 counts of fraud and money laundering by a grand jury in Greenbelt, Maryland, in December 2011.

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

They pleaded pleaded guilty in December last year and Dunham’s wife was last week sentenced to two months imprisonment with credit for time already served in custody, with the judge ordering she serve the remaining 18 days under home detention.

Gary Procter and Deborah Boardman, the couple’s US defence attorneys, said after today’s hearing that the couple had 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,” they said in a statement.

“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.”

Published: Thursday 5th February 2015 by The News Editor

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