GREENVILLE, N.C. (WBTV) – McCrae Dowless, the political operative at the center of the 9th Congressional District scandal in 2018, has been sentenced to six months in prison for federal unemployment fraud.
Dowless will report to prison in December to serve his six-month federal sentence.
In a press release from the Justice Department, officials say Dowless was sentenced for charges of theft of government property and Social Security fraud. He was also ordered to pay $8,599.10 in restitution.
The charges, handed down in April 2020, stemmed from Dowless collecting social security benefits while earning income from political campaigns.
Dowless pleaded guilty to the charges on June 21, 2021.
According to court documents, the 65-year-old Dowless 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. 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.
According to court documents, 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, officials say Dowless received at least 59 checks totaling $135,365.57 for consulting work. Officials say Dowless failed to report his work and income to the Social Security Administration.
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