Northampton grandfather jailed for four years for his part in $1 million fraud scheme

Paul Dunham has been sentenced to four years in jail at a sentencing hearing in the United States today.
Paul Dunham has been sentenced to four years in jail at a sentencing hearing in the United States today.

A businessman from Northampton has been sentenced to four years in prison for embezzling more than one million dollars of his US employer’s money.

Between 2002 and 2009 Paul Dunham, 59, and his wife Sandra, of Collingtree, fraudulently charged a number of personal expenses to their corporate credit cards, when they both worked for manufacturing company Pace Worldwide.

The grandparents had spent more than one million dollars on luxury furnishings of a North Carolina residence, meals out, elaborate travel arrangements, holidays and even a fully air conditioned ‘pet dome’.

Today Mr Dunham was sentenced to four years in prison at a court in Maryland - though at previous hearing he was told that he could face up to 20 years in jail.

The sentencing came a week after wife Sandra was spared jail for her part in the scheme, after agreeing to a plea bargain, which directed her to spend 18 days in home detention in Baltimore.

A statement by the US Attorney’s Office said Paul Dunham held a number of executive positions including president and chief operating officer at manufacturing company PACE Worldwide.

The statement said: “A substantial portion of the scheme involved Paul Dunham abusing a private position of trust to manage and direct others, including his secretary, in the execution of the scheme.

“Moreover, Paul Dunham repeatedly forged receipts and invoices to create the false appearance that they were for business, rather than personal expenses.

“As a result of the lengthy scheme, US$1 million in actual losses were incurred. Paul and Sandra Dunham have agreed to forfeit and pay restitution of $1 million,” the statement added.

Paul and Sandra Dunham had fought their extradition to the US before their sentencing, 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.

They both admitted afterwards they had tried to take their own lives.

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