DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — Visit Dothan’s Board of Directors is breaking their silence after its president and CEO pleaded guilty to knowingly committing federal bank fraud.

That board said they’re going to stand by their man and they want a confessed felon to continue to oversee a tourist organization that takes in over a million dollars in taxpayer money.

Visit Dothan’s President and CEO, Aaron McCreight could be facing up to 30 years in prison after pleading guilty on Thursday to federal bank fraud charges in Iowa.

On Friday, Dean Mitchell and Bill Durden, two members on Visit Dothan’s board, said even though he has now admitted in court to fraud, they still feel he’s the right man for the job.

“Aaron is basically the Bryce Young of this industry,” Durden said.

As of now, Visit Dothan’s Board of Directors is standing by McCreight, a confessed felon, and defending their decision to keep him at the helm.

“We are the board of directors and we have oversight of that,” Mitchell said. “We have very close oversight. We have all these checks and balances in place that gives us great confidence that a situation that happened in Iowa is not going to happen in Dothan.”

What happened in Iowa, was that McCreight mislead the bank to put on a festival called Newbo Evolve, and told his finance director to fudge the numbers for the bank.

By the time it was over, the bank was out $1.5 million and vendors weren’t paid $800,000. In court, he admitted to knowingly committing the fraud.

However, Visit Dothan said the main reason they don’t think he could commit such an act here, is because Dothan doesn’t bring in big acts.

“We don’t do events of this magnitude in this size,” Mitchell said. “We focus on sports and tournaments with our partners at the city of Dothan and our hotels. We don’t have the interest or ever have the interest to do a large-scale event where we have to go ahead and borrow money from a bank.”

Visit Dothan’s Board of Directors tells WDHN that they knew McCreight had been fired from Go Cedar Rapids for the bank fraud incident, and they knew it before they hired him as president and CEO.

“I still stand by my statement that I made several years ago when we first brought him on,” Durden said. “Iowa’s loss is Dothan’s gain.”

McCreight will remain free until he is sentenced, meaning the organization will continue to pay McCreight with funds they receive, in part, from the city of Dothan and public taxes.

Visit Dothan receives 4% of the 9% lodging tax that Dothan brings in from visitors.

“I think if you look at the track record that Aaron has done, in regards to hotel revenue tournaments, athletic facility, tourism dollars, there is no question that he is the right man for the job,” Mitchell said.

Visit Dothan also said each bill and check they receive, no matter the amount, has to be signed by two people and run through a CPA firm, with regular reviews of their financials.

WDHN has reached out to McCreight and his lawyer multiple times for comment but still has not received a response. In addition to decades in prison, McCreight could also face a $1 million fine and up to five years of supervised release following any prison sentence.