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McCrae Dowless makes first court appearance on Social Security-related fraud charges

McCrae Dowless listens during the NCSBE evidentiary hearing into voting irregularities in the...
McCrae Dowless listens during the NCSBE evidentiary hearing into voting irregularities in the 9th Congressional District.
Updated: May. 11, 2020 at 3:15 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) - A political operative at the center of a North Carolina absentee ballot fraud investigation has made his first court appearance on federal charges related to his campaign work.

Leslie McCrae Dowless Jr. of Bladen County was present in Wilmington federal court on Monday before a magistrate judge.

A grand jury indicted Dowless on charges that he received thousands of dollars more in Social Security benefits than he was entitled to because he allegedly concealed more than $100,000 he was paid for campaign work.

Dowless is accused separately in state court of illegally “harvesting” mail-in ballots while working for a Republican congressional candidate.

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