MISSOULA — A Flathead Valley construction company owner accused in a scheme to defraud customers by spending money intended for projects on unrelated business and personal expenses admitted to a wire fraud crime on Wednesday.
Craig Mark Draper, 55, of Las Vegas, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud, U.S. Attorney Leif M. Johnson said in a news release. Draper now faces a maximum 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 parties agree that at sentencing — if the court accepts the agreement — that the government will seek dismissal of nine other counts of wire fraud and two counts of money laundering as charged in an indictment.
In addition, restitution is mandatory. The government anticipates seeking at least $436,986 restitution, but the final amount will be determined by the Court.
U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy presided over the hearing and set sentencing for April 14, 2022. Draper was released pending further proceedings.
The government alleged in court documents that in 2017, Draper moved to the Flathead Valley 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 their 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 wired $59,002 to Draper. The customer never received siding from Draper and eventually paid the vendor directly for the siding included in Draper’s invoice.
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.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Racicot is prosecuting the case, which was investigated by the FBI.