GREENVILLE, N.C. (WECT) – Leslie McCrae Dowless, the central figure in the election scandal that forced a redo of a 2018 North Carolina congressional election, was sentenced Thursday on Social Security fraud charges.
According to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Dowless was given a six-month prison sentenced and ordered to pay $8,599.10 in restitution after previously pleading guilty to theft of government property and Social Security fraud in June.
According to court documents, Dowless, 65, of Bladenboro, defrauded the Social Security Administration by concealing his work and income while receiving monthly benefits payments.
In Feb. 2013, Dowless applied for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits and claimed in the application 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 Nov. 2018.
Prosecutors say Dowless worked as a consultant for at least two political campaigns during the 2018 Midterm Elections. From March 2017 to Nov. 2018, Dowless received at least 59 checks totaling $135,365.57 for the consulting work.
Dowless did not report the work and income to the Social Security Administration.
He was originally scheduled to be sentenced on the social security fraud charges on Aug. 25 in Raleigh but was airlifted to New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington after reportedly suffering a stroke, WRAL and WBTV both reported.
Dowless is still facing multiple state charges related to election fraud in the 2016 and 2018 elections in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District.
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