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Flathead construction company owner admits fraud

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A Flathead Valley construction company owner pleaded guilty Wednesday to one count of wire fraud in federal court in Missoula.

Craig Mark Draper, 55, owner of ADI Builders, was accused by federal prosecutors of a scheme to defraud customers by spending money intended for projects on unrelated business and personal expenses. He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release.

According to a plea agreement filed in the case, the government will seek the dismissal of nine other counts of wire fraud and two counts of money laundering if U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy accepts the agreement.

The government alleges that after Draper moved from Las Vegas to the Flathead Valley in 2017, he formed his company and started bidding on a variety of jobs including the construction of pole barns, shops and residential remodels.

In several instances, Draper provided invoices to customers for specific expenses associated with their projects.

In one case for which he pleaded guilty, Draper sent an invoice to a customer for $59,002, which included $8,000 in charges for siding. The customer wired $59,002 to Draper but never received siding and eventually paid the siding vendor directly. Draper then allegedly used some of the wired money for personal expenses, including paying a company in Iowa for trophies for the winners of car races, paying an outfitter in Utah, making cash withdrawals and paying $9,500 to the Salish and Kootenai Tribes to lease their racetrack.

Assistant U.S. attorney Timothy Racicot is prosecuting the case, which was investigated by the FBI.

Sentencing is scheduled for April 14, 2022.

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