The organizer of the 2018 Warriors & Wizards Festival was sentenced to probation and jail time Thursday for defrauding festival sponsors out of tens of thousands of dollars.
Under a plea agreement, Scott W. Cramer pleaded no contest to one count of theft by false representation in Jefferson County Court.
Judge William Gruber sentenced him to three years probation, which includes 30 days in the Jefferson County Jail with work-release privileges.
“The court is considering Mr. Cramer’s character that’s coloring the court’s outcome here significantly,” Gruber said. “As well as the remorse that’s expressed nonverbally and verbally here, the court does believe that Mr. Cramer has taken virtually all the responsibility that can be taken after the act has been committed.
“The court does believe the probability of re-offense in either a financial crimes context or other criminal context is exceedingly unlikely.”
Under the agreement, Cramer, 59, whose address is listed as 917 Church St., Beloit, also must participate in counseling and treatment, maintain employment or enroll in an educational program, and refrain from organizing a similar festival.
Cramer is accused of writing more than $50,000 in bounced checks and declined credit card authorizations for the 2018 festival in Jefferson, according to the criminal complaint.
Cramer brought a Harry Potter festival to Edgerton in 2015 and moved it to Jefferson two years later under the name Warriors & Wizards Festival.
Cramer had asked Edgerton to pay about $100,000 in festival expenses. When the city declined, Cramer forged an agreement with Jefferson.
On Thursday, District Attorney Susan Happ said both sides agreed the sentence was enough to meet the community’s needs.
“As you can tell from the criminal complaint, there were multiple victims owed an extremely high restitution,” Happ said. “It emphasizes how significant it was. This consequence is sufficient to address the nature and consequence of the conduct.”
The plea agreement does not include restitution. Defense attorney Scott Wales said Cramer has paid back $73,359.32 to 14 parties that lost money.
Cramer and his wife, Cheryl, were forced to sell their house and take money out of their 401(k) accounts to repay the debt, Wales said.
In court, Wales read letters written by Cramer and his wife. As her letter was read, Cramer stared at the floor as his wife began to cry.
“Scott fully acknowledges and accepts the responsibility that he violated the law by writing those uncovered checks,” Cheryl Cramer’s letter reads.
Cramer expressed remorse in his own letter.
“I was wrong. Please forgive me,” the letter read. “I realize writing checks in the hopes they would be covered was illegal and disrespectful. I recognize and acknowledge my wrongdoing. This has caused myself and my family much embarrassment.”