EDGERTON — The owner of HP Fans Inc. and lead organizer of the former Warriors & Wizards Festival in Jefferson sold his home in late September.
Scott W. Cramer, 59, faces criminal charges and a civil lawsuit for allegations of multiple bounced checks and declined credit card authorizations in his name in excess of $50,000.
The sale of Cramer’s Edgerton home was finalized Sept. 20, according to land records with the Rock County Register of Deeds Office. The home, which Cramer owned with his wife at 105 N. Catlin St. sold for $238,000, according to the online listing.
Land records show Cramer has owned the property since January 2002.
Cramer faces one charge of theft-false representation greater than $10,000, but not exceeding $100,000. He faces a sentence of up to 10 years in prison or a fine of up to $25,000 if convicted.
He currently is released on a $20,000 signature bond.
In addition, Cramer is facing a civil lawsuit filed by the City of Jefferson for his failure to reimburse the city for its investment in the October 2018 festival.
The 2018 agreement with the city does include a personal guarantee, meaning that Cramer potentially could be personally liable for any debt HP Fans Inc. owes to the city.
Cramer’s attorney in the civil case, Carl Rolsma, did not respond to a request for comment by presstime. His attorney in the criminal case, Scott Wales, declined to comment, saying the matter would be addressed in court.
Formerly referred to as Harry Potter Festival USA, the event organized by Cramer was rebranded as the broader Warriors & Wizards Festival in 2018 to avoid any infringement of Warner Bros.’ copyright. It had been held the previous two years in Jefferson (2017) and Edgerton (2016).
Under the contract with the city, Cramer or HP Fans Inc. was to reimburse the city for its initial $25,000 investment toward marketing expenses for the festival, held in October 2018, as well as for the city’s expenditures related to hosting the event, such as wages, materials and supplies for various municipal departments employed over the three days. The final total owed the city was $37,617, which included the $25,000 for marketing, as well as the related wages and materials for the city department employees.
Other than one payment of $6,000 received by the city on Nov. 5, 2018, no payments were received.
The Jefferson Common Council terminated the contract in January and directed city attorney Chris Rogers to take the first steps toward legal action. Following no response to a 30-day collection notice, the lawsuit was filed in May.
No action was taken by the city in 2018 to reimburse the businesses impacted by the bounced checks written by Cramer. However, Cramer allegedly wrote multiple checks that bounced due to insufficient funds, which is considered a criminal act.
An investigation into allegations of bounced checks, unpaid invoices and declined credit cards began almost immediately after the 2018 festival.
From October to December of 2018, bad checks and credit card payments were given to the Jefferson Area Business Center, Bon Ton Bakery, Jefferson County Fair Park, 104.5 Country WSLD FM, Red Square Audio, Kobussen Buses, Americinn, Wine and Roses retail store and Country Inn and Suites.
In total, more than $50,000 in goods and services provided by Jefferson County businesses and government weren’t paid for, according to the criminal complaint.
In a number of these incidents, Cramer reportedly admitted to Detective Leah Meyer of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office that he had issued the bad checks. Cramer’s signature also matches that on several of the checks, and the last four numbers of a credit card used by Cramer are the same in a number of cases, according to the complaint.
Cramer is scheduled to appear in Jefferson County Circuit Court on Thursday, Nov. 14, at 8:30 a.m. for a plea and sentencing hearing.
In the civil case, the City of Jefferson has until Dec. 6 to name its witnesses.