Can’t Fool the Government Twice

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social security card and money concept

The man who was at the center of the 2018 District 9 election scandal was sentenced to prison Thursday for collecting disability while being paid for working on campaigns. Leslie McCrae Dowless, 65, admitted to defrauding the Social Security Administration. (One scandal just wasn’t enough for him, he had to go for a second.)  

Dowless concealed his campaign work and annual income while receiving monthly benefits payments. In February 2013, Dowless applied for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. In the application, Dowless claimed that he was unable to work due to a disability. 

He 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 despite the fact that he was actively working on campaigns. (He seems to have gotten around just fine.)  

Dowless was required to report certain events to the Social Security Administration, including changes in his work activity, income, or resources. Unbeknownst to the Social Security Administration, Dowless worked as a consultant for at least two political campaigns during the 2018 Midterm Elections.

Documents state that from March 2017 to November 2018, Dowless received at least 59 checks totaling $135,365 for consulting work. (Dowless wasn’t exactly hurting for money when he filed his application.) He failed to report any of this work or income to the Social Security Administration.

A judge sentenced Dowless to 6 months behind bars for the theft of government property and Social Security fraud. (This seems like a light sentence for someone who continuously shows a flagrant disregard for the law.) He will also have to pay $8,599 in restitution and is still facing additional charges related to election fraud.

Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from an article, “Man at center of District 9 election scandal sentenced to 6 months for Social Security fraud,” published by WSOC-TV on September 2, 2021.

BLADEN COUNTY, N.C. — The man at the center of the District 9 election scandal was sentenced to prison Thursday for collecting disability while being paid for working on campaigns in 2018.

According to officials, Leslie McCrae Dowless, 65, will spend 6 months behind bars for the theft of government property and Social Security fraud. He will also have to pay $8,599.10 in restitution.

 

 

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Larry Benson, Senior Director of Strategic Alliances, LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

Larry Benson is responsible for developing strategic partnerships and solutions for the government vertical. His expertise focuses on how government programs are defrauded by criminal groups, and the approaches necessary to prevent them from succeeding.

Mr. Benson has 30 years of experience in sales and business development. Before joining LexisNexis® Risk Solutions, he spent 12 years founding and managing two software technology startups. During the 1990s he spent 10 years as a Regional Director helping to grow a New England-based technology company from 300 employees to 7,000. He started his career with Martin Marietta Aerospace working on laser guided weapons and day/night vision systems.

A sought-after speaker and accomplished writer, Mr. Benson is the principal author of “Fraud of the Day,” a website dedicated to educating government officials about how criminals are defrauding government programs. He has co-authored WTF? Where’s the Fraud? How to Unmask and Stop Identity Fraud’s Drain on Our Government, and Data Personified, How Fraud is Changing the Meaning of Identity.

Benson holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Albright College, and earned two graduate degrees – a Master of Business Administration from Florida Institute of Technology, and a Master of Science in Engineering from Lehigh University.