Fraud charge couple remanded in US

A retired British couple who lost their fight against extradition have been remanded in custody by a US court on fraud charges.

British couple Paul and Sandra Dunham have been remanded in custody in the US on fraud charges
British couple Paul and Sandra Dunham have been remanded in custody in the US on fraud charges

Paul and Sandra Dunham, both 58, were flown to the US from Heathrow Airport on Thursday.

The couple, from Northampton, appeared before Maryland magistrate judge William Connelly in the US District Court at Greenbelt. They will next appear at the court on Tuesday for a bail hearing,

A statement on the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Maryland said Mr Dunham was charged with 13 counts of fraud and money laundering in relation to his company, Pace.

Mr Dunham was president and chief operating officer of Pace USA and managing director of its UK subsidiary Pace Europe, while his wife was director of sales and marketing for Pace USA and Pace Europe, the statement said.

The indictment says that between 2002 and 2009, the couple fraudulently charged personal expenses to their corporate credit cards and submitted vouchers to Pace for reimbursement that falsely described them as business expenses.

Mr Dunham is alleged to have created, doctored and falsified receipts and invoices and is also said to have told his assistant not to reveal records relating to personal purchases made by him and his wife, the statement said.

The personal expenses for which they are alleged to have obtained reimbursements include furniture, a dog sofa and pet residence, weekly grocery expenses, art work, home cleaning and remodelling services, and airline tickets.

The couple obtained more than 1.4 million dollars (£833,000) through fraudulent reimbursements, the statement said.

They lost a High Court battle last month in the UK against extradition.

They were taken to Northampton General Hospital last week after they took a drug overdose the night before they were due to hand themselves in to police and in turn to US marshals.

Senior District Judge Howard Riddle remanded the pair into custody at Westminster Magistrates Court last Friday, concluding that they had deliberately taken an overdose to avoid or delay their extradition to the US.

They were handed over to US marshals at Heathrow Airport by officers from the Metropolitan Police's Extradition unit on Thursday.

The couple have denied any wrongdoing.