Man at center of District 9 election scandal indicted for social security fraud

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Leslie McCrae Dowless Jr. (Photo: WSOC)

(WSOC/WWAY) — McCrae Dowless, the man at the center of the District 9 election scandal, has been indicted on federal charges for collecting disability while being paid for working on campaigns in 2018.

According to court documents, Dowless worked for at least two candidates and their campaigns during the 2018 Midterm election. During that time, he reportedly got paid thousands of dollars for his work, yet failed to report his income to the Social Security Administration.

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He was charged with one count of theft of government property, two counts of social security fraud and one count of false statements.

Dowless was known in his rural North Carolina community as a politically obsessed man who over nearly a decade delivered votes for his candidates and stayed just out of reach of laws protecting ballots from potential tampering.

According to a news release from the US Department of Justice, if convicted of the charge of theft of government property, Dowless faces a maximum penalty of ten years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.

If convicted of the charges of social security fraud, Dowless faces a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.  If convicted of making false statements, Dowless faces a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.  Each count in the indictment also subjects the defendant to a term of up to three years supervised release following any term of imprisonment.  His initial appearance is tentatively scheduled for May 11 at 9:30 am in Wilmington.

The case is being investigated by the Social Security Administration’s Office of the Inspector General and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  This case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Tamika Moses.