DOTHAN, Ala (WDHN) — After admitting to federal bank fraud over a year ago, Visit Dothan CEO Aaron McCreight has officially been sentenced.
Judge C.J. Williams sentenced Aaron McCreight to 18 months in federal prison. He has also been ordered to serve 3 years under supervised release and pay restitution of $1,554,503.
The sentencing was originally scheduled for November 10, 2022.
According to court records, McCreight, along with Doug Hargrave an associate of McCreight’s, both pled guilty to bank fraud in January 2022.
McCreight was accused of committing bank fraud while working in Cedar Rapids Iowa.
During his time in Iowa in 2018, McCreight was the CEO of Go Cedar Rapids, a tourist organization similar to Visit Dothan, and helped plan an event called Newbo Evolve. This music festival brought in headliners such as Kelly Clarkson and Maroon 5 and supported nearly 100 vendors.
McCreight admitted to intentionally misleading a bank by overstating how many people would attend the event and how much money it would bring in. At the time, the finance director of Go Cedar Rapids said that McCreight ordered him to misrepresent estimates to the bank.
McCreight also told his board of directors that the festival would sell nearly 11,000 tickets and 4,000 three-day passes.
McCreight first requested $1.5 million from a bank but right before the event, put in a new request for nearly $2.2 million to put into the festival.
In total, the fraud reportedly cost the bank and vendors more than $2 million, also causing Go Cedar Rapids to go under.
McCreight was fired by Go Cedar Rapids and was then hired by Visit Dothan.
Records show in 2021 McCreight, while CEO of Visit Dothan, was interviewed by FBI agents. They say McCreight lied to them, telling agents the promoter of the festival gave him incorrect numbers of ticket sales and that his board of directors misinterpreted the numbers, but he later admitted to fraud.
After pleading guilty, Visit Dothan’s Board of Directors chose to unanimously retain McCreight as CEO but the sentencing has cost McCreight his job.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, in the near future, McCreight will report to the Bureau of Prisons, where he will learn what federal institution he will serve his sentence. From there, he will self-report to the designated institution.
McCreight has 14 days after his sentencing to appeal.
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