Ex-New Hanover ABC chief charged with fraud

This is the reason North Carolina needs to abandon its Prohibition Era alcohol laws and let the free market take over:

The former New Hanover Alcoholic Beverage Control administrator was charged Monday with fraud in connection with a scheme to use public funds to pay for work on his home.

A New Hanover County grand jury indicted Billy Williams on a charge of obtaining property by false pretense. He was expected to be arraigned Tuesday morning in Wilmington.

Federal and state prosecutors said Wilmington contractor Lee Fitzgerald Cowper was hired in 2006 by the New Hanover ABC Board to build four liquor stores in the county. Around that same time, Williams hired Cowper to build a two-car garage at his home, prosecutors said.

Cowper submitted a phony invoice for paving work at the Porter’s Neck ABC store to the New Hanover ABC Board in November 2006, padding his bill for construction of store by $43,860, federal prosecutors said. The amount of the overcharge was identical to what Williams owed Cowper for cost overruns on his garage, prosecutors said.

Cowper, 59, of Wilmington, pleaded guilty Monday in federal court in Raleigh to one count of mail fraud in the case. He faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine when he is sentenced in May, and he will likely have to repay the $43,860 as part of his sentence.



About Well of Knowledge Tour Guide

I am a public policy thinker and amateur historian. My interests are seeking knowledge in all areas of life.
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