Contractor Sentenced In Fraud Case Involving ABC Store

A New Hanover contractor has been sentenced to three years' probation and fined $25,000 after pleading guilty to a federal fraud charge stemming from work on an Alcoholic Beverage Control liquor store.

U.S. Attorney Thomas Walker said 59-year-old Lee Fitzgerald Cowper was sentenced Thursday. Cowper had pleaded guilty in February to mail fraud.

The charge said Cowper was paid $100,000 to build a garage at the home of New Hanover County ABC administrator Billy Williams. But the garage cost Cowper more than $143,000.

The charge said Cowper made up the difference by overcharging for work at the ABC store in Porters Neck.

Cowper testified last month against Williams, who was convicted of one count of obtaining property by false pretense. He also has paid $43,000 in restitution.

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