Key figure in NC ballot probe gets prison for benefit fraud

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FILE – In this Dec. 5, 2018, file photo, Leslie McCrae Dowless Jr. poses for a portrait outside of his home in Bladenboro, N.C. Dowless, a political operative already accused in state court of absentee ballot fraud during a 2018 North Carolina congressional election, now faces federal charges of fraudulently receiving Social Security benefits while getting paid for political work, prosecutors said Tuesday, April 21, 2020. (Travis Long/The News & Observer via AP)

GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) – A key player in a North Carolina ballot probe that led to a new congressional election has been sentenced to six months in prison for Social Security fraud.

Leslie McCrae Dowless Jr. received the sentence Thursday in federal court. He had pleaded guilty to two counts in June on the day his trial was supposed to begin.

The judge also told Dowless he must pay $8,600 in restitution.

The federal case was tangentially related to the ballot probe by the State Board of Elections and local prosecutors. Dowless and others still face state charges related to 2016 and 2018 elections.

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