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Key figure in 9th District election scandal pleads guilty to fraud

Leslie McCrae Dowless pleaded guilty to theft of government property. He faces up to 15 years in prison for his role in the 9th District election scandal.

RALEIGH, N.C. — The man accused of illegally collecting absentee ballots in the 9th Congressional District election in 2018, forcing North Carolina officials to throw out the results of the election and order a new one, pleaded guilty Monday to fraud, authorities said.

Leslie McCrae Dowless, 65, of Bladenboro, pleaded guilty to theft of government property and Social Security fraud and faces up to 15 years in prison. He is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 23.

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Dowless concealed his work and income as a political consultant from the Social Security Administration while receiving monthly benefits, authorities said.

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