GREENBELT, Md. – A British man who was extradited to the United States with his wife to face fraud charges was sentenced Thursday to four years in federal prison.
Paul Dunham, the former president of the electronics company Pace, and his wife acknowledged in guilty pleas in December that between 2002 and 2009 they charged personal expenses to corporate credit cards and submitted false reimbursement requests to the company. The Dunhams acknowledged that they improperly had Pace reimburse them for mortgage payments on two time share units they bought in Barbados, home furniture, luxury bedding and a dog sofa, among other things.
Dunham pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit wire fraud and money laundering.
Dunham's wife, Sandra Dunham, the former director of sales and marketing for Pace, pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit wire fraud and was sentenced last week to 30 days in jail and 30 days of home detention. Because she had already spent 42 days in confinement during and immediately after her extradition to the United States, she is expected to finish serving 18 days home confinement and return to England within weeks.
The couple is from Northampton, England, and previously lived in Maryland and North Carolina while working for North Carolina-based Pace. The company makes equipment to install and remove electronics components from circuit boards and employs about 70 people worldwide.
As part of their plea agreement, the couple has been ordered to repay the $1 million they stole, though they have said they are broke. Paul Dunham can also apply to serve a part of his prison sentence in England.
Before the Dunhams were brought to the United States in May they fought a long battle to avoid extradition by appealing to Britain's High Court and the European Court of Human Rights. They raised concerns over their health and possible treatment in U.S. custody, but both courts rejected their bids.
Paul Dunham repeatedly told reporters that their extradition was "disproportionate" and complained that the British justice system had let them down. Critics of the U.S.-Britain extradition agreement have long argued that it allows American authorities to demand the extradition of British citizens without presenting significant evidence, and that the treaty is lopsided because it is easier to extradite a British citizen to the U.S. than vice versa.
Associated Press reporter Sylvia Hui contributed to this report from London.
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