McCrae Dowless sentenced for social security fraud

Wake County, NC (WWAY)– A key figure in the investigation into ballot fraud in a North Carolina congressional race has been sentenced in a federal case involving Social Security benefits.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Raleigh sentenced Leslie McCrae Dowless Jr. of Bladenboro to six months in prison, and one year of supervised release.  He must also pay $8,599.10 in restitution.

Dowless pleaded guilty to the charges in Greenville federal court in June.

According to court documents, Dowless, 65, defrauded the Social Security Administration by concealing his work and income while receiving monthly benefits payments.

In February 2013, Dowless applied for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. In the application, Dowless claimed that he was unable to work due to a disability.

Dowless received SSI benefits until July 2018, when he applied for Retirement Insurance Benefits (RIB). In his application for RIB, Dowless stated that he did not expect to work in 2018 and had not worked in the two years preceding his application. Dowless received RIB benefits through November 2018.

Dowless was required to report certain events to the Social Security Administration, including changes in his work activity, income, or resources.

Unbeknownst to the Social Security Administration, Dowless worked as a consultant for at least two political campaigns during the 2018 Midterm Elections.

From March 2017 to November 2018, Dowless received at least 59 checks totaling $135,365.57 for consulting work.

Dowless failed to report his work and income to the Social Security Administration.

He still faces state charges involving the 2016 and 2018 elections.

He is accused of directing people to collect incomplete absentee ballots in a congressional race and making it appear that the voters had finished them.

Categories: Bladen, Local, NC-Carolinas, News, Top Stories