Charges Arise from False Statements Made in Order to Secure Newbo Evolve Financing.
Doug Hargrave, age 55, from Puyallup, Washington, pled guilty on January 26, 2022, in federal court in Cedar Rapids. Aaron McCreight, age 47, from Dothan, Alabama, pled guilty today. Each man was convicted of one count of bank fraud.
At the plea hearings, the two men admitted that they formerly held executive positions in Go Cedar Rapids (“GoCR”), an organization that planned and executed Newbo Evolve, a three-day music and cultural event in August 2018. McCreight was President and Chief Executive Officer, and, in the summer of 2018, Hargrave was GoCR’s Finance Director. As the Newbo Evolve event dates approached, GoCR did not have enough money to, among other things, pay Kelly Clarkson and buy the alcohol that was to be sold at the concert venue.
Hargrave and McCreight admitted, as alleged in the charging documents, that they defrauded the financial institution that had extended a loan to GoCR to finance Newbo Evolve by making misrepresentations about Newbo Evolve’s actual ticket sales, projected revenue, projected expenses, and the true amount of loss they were projecting and expecting Newbo Evolve to generate. They did this in order to fraudulently induce the bank to loan GoCR additional money to support Newbo Evolve. In July 2018, McCreight and Hargrave sent a false and fraudulent Newbo Evolve 2018 Budget to the bank in support of GoCR’s request for an increase in its loan. In a meeting with representatives of the bank, McCreight fraudulently misrepresented the number of tickets that had been sold for Maroon 5 and Kelly Clarkson’s performances. The bank subsequently increased the loan to GoCR from $1.5 million to $2.2 million.
Sentencing hearings before United States District Court Judge C.J. Williams will be set after presentence reports have been prepared. Hargrave and McCreight were released on bond pending sentencing. Hargrave and McCreight each face a possible maximum sentence of 30 years’ imprisonment, a fine, and a period of supervised release following any imprisonment.
The case is being prosecuted by United States Attorney Sean R. Berry and Assistant United States Attorney Kyndra Lundquist and was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Court file information at https://ecf.iand.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/login.pl.
The case file numbers are 22-CR-01 and 22-CR-02.