2nd person arrested in 9th District election fraud investigation

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A second person has been arrested in the investigation into election fraud in North Carolina’s 9th District. 

Caitlyn Croom was arrested Sunday around 11:30 a.m. in New Hanover County, the SBI said. 

Croom has been charged with conspiracy to commit felony obstruction of justice and possession of absentee ballot.

Her arrest comes after she and four others were indicted last week by a grand jury.

McCrae Dowless was arrested and bonded out last week. 

During last week’s hearing by the state Board of Elections, Republican Congressional candidate Mark Harris said he hired Dowless to help him win votes in Bladen County. He said Ray Britt attended the first meeting he had with Dowless nearly two years ago. Harris has denied knowing of any wrongdoing.

State investigators accused Dowless of running an “absentee ballot scheme” in which he would pay people to sign up to vote absentee by mail. Then, the people working for him would return to those voters, collect their ballots and bring them to Dowless, according to investigators.

“And our county, Bladen County, has been tainted by this process,” said Britt, who said he had not spoken to Dowless about the indictments.

Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman took over the criminal investigation a little over a year ago after the Bladen County DA referred the case to her.

She said the charges filed this week pertain to crimes committed during the 2016 general election and last year’s primary. She’s still investigating what happened during last November’s election and plans to bring that evidence to a grand jury in the coming months.

Dowless is due back in court next month.

Matthew Monroe Mathis, Tonia Gordon and Rebecca Thompson were also indicted and are not in custody at this time. 

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