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WILMINGTON, NC (WRAL) -— The state Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission on Tuesday acknowledged that the liquor board in New Hanover County is the focus of state and federal investigations – reports WRAL.com.

Wilmington general contractor Lee F. Cowper faces federal mail fraud charges after investigators say he overcharged for construction on the Porter’s Neck ABC store by $43,000 to make up for what he was owed by former New Hanover ABC administrator Billy Williams for work done on Williams’ garage.

Cowper’s attorney, Joe Cheshire of Raleigh, on Monday called his client “a peripheral casualty in a federal investigation into the workings of the New Hanover County ABC Board.” Cowper is cooperating with government agents, Cheshire said.

Agnes Stevens, a spokeswoman for the ABC Commission, said Tuesday that the state board is aware of state and federal investigations in New Hanover County but isn’t involved in either.

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