Two GoCR executives face federal bank fraud charges over NewBo Evolve

NewBo Evolve was promoted as a three-day music and cultural event in August of 2018.
Published: Jan. 4, 2022 at 12:01 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Two former Go Cedar Rapids executives are facing federal charges regarding NewBo Evolve.

Then President and CEO of GoCR Aaron McCreight, 46, of Dothan Alabama, and GoCR’s Finance Director Doug Hargrave, 54, of Puyallup, Washington, were both charged with one count of bank fraud. The federal charges were filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Cedar Rapids.

Documents say McCreight and Hargrave executed a scheme to defraud a Cedar Rapids bank in connection to loans for NewBo Evolve.

NewBo Evolve was a three-day music event, featuring concerts by Maroon 5 and Kelly Clarkson, in August 2018.

Court documents say McCreight and Hargrave allegedly defrauded the bank by misrepresenting Newbo Evolve’s ticket sales, projected revenue, projected expenses, and the true amount of loss expected.

The documents say, based on this fraudulent information, the bank loaned GoCR hundreds of thousands of dollars to be used to finance Newbo Evolve.

If convicted, the two each face a possible maximum of 30 years in prison, a fine, and a period of supervised release.

First appearance dates in court have not yet been set.

GoCR went out of existence in October. It was $2.3 million in debt following the festival. Some vendors said they didn’t get paid.

McCreight and Hargrave have signed an intent to plead guilty but court dates have not been set.

The Dothan Board of Directors sent a statement regarding its President and CEO Aaron McCreight:

“The Board of Directors of Visit Dothan recently met and voted unanimously to retain Aaron McCreight as its President and CEO. The Board reached this decision after careful consideration of the present facts and circumstances surrounding the 2018 music festival event held during his tenure at Go Cedar Rapids in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where Aaron has now admitted guilt, expressed remorse, and a federal judge will rule on punishment for him in the near future....

The Board of Directors of Visit Dothan is very confident in the financial management practices that it currently has in place and in the confidence that it has placed in Aaron based on the job that he has done.

As the judicial system continues to run its course in Iowa, the Board will stay abreast of the situation and timely consider any new developments that may arise...”

Cedar Rapids Mayor Tiffany O’Donnel also released a statement regarding the federal case:

“As the community looks forward, it’s encouraging to see the individuals responsible for NewBo Evolve be held accountable. The City of Cedar Rapids partners with VenueWorks, an organization with a 25-year track record, to promote and grow our great city. Regarding new information about Aaron McCreight and Doug Hargrave, this is a federal matter. As such, the city refers further questions to the proper authorities.”

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