A Flathead Valley construction company owner pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud in U.S. District Court in Missoula after he was accused in a scheme to defraud customers by spending money intended for projects on unrelated business and personal expenses, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Craig Mark Draper, 55, of Las Vegas, entered a plea agreement that dropped nine other counts of wire fraud and two counts of money laundering as charged in the initial indictment. Prosecutors anticipate seeking a mandatory restitution in the amount of at least $436,986.
According to court documents, Draper moved to the Flathead Valley in 2017 and formed a construction company called ADI Builders. Draper 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 the projects.
In the wire fraud count to which Draper pleaded guilty, he sent an invoice to a customer for $59,002, which included $8,000 in charges for siding. The customer never received siding after wiring $59,002 to Draper and eventually paid the vendor directly for the siding included in Draper’s invoice, court records state.
Draper used some of the wired money for personal expenses unrelated to the customer’s project, 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.
U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy presided over the change-of-plea hearing and set sentencing for April 14, 2022. Draper was released pending further proceedings.
Draper faces a maximum of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Racicot is prosecuting the case, which was investigated by the FBI.
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