MISSOULA - A Flathead Valley construction company owner who admitted to defrauding numerous customers was sentenced Tuesday to 70 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay $543,859 restitution.
Craig Mark Draper, 55, of Las Vegas, Nevada, pleaded guilty in December 2021 to wire fraud, according to U.S. Attorney Leif M. Johnson.
The government alleged in court documents that Draper took money from customers for construction materials and failed to obtain the materials and complete the projects. The case involved 25 victims, including customers, vendors and former employees, some of whom suffered significant financial hardships as a result of Draper’s actions.
The government alleged that Draper moved to the Flathead Valley in 2017 and formed a company called ADI Builders. Draper started bidding on a variety of jobs, including the construction of pole barns, shops and residential remodels.
Prosecutors say that in several instances, Draper provided invoices to customers for specific expenses associated with their projects.
Draper admitted that 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 Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes to lease their racetrack.
U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy presided. Judge Molloy ordered Draper remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshal’s Service. In addition, Judge Molloy dismissed nine other wire fraud counts and two money laundering counts under the terms of a plea agreement reached by the parties.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Racicot prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the FBI.