Businessman charged with fraud after Broadway musical collapses
A NEW York businessman who allegedly created a cast of fictional characters to help finance a $12 million Broadway show, Rebecca: The Musical, has been arrested and charged with defrauding the play’s producers.
Mark Hotton “faked lives, faked companies and even staged a fake death,” Manhattan US attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement.
Hotton was yesterday charged with two counts of wire fraud and faces up to 20 years in prison for each count if convicted.
Hotton portrayed himself as an 11th-hour hero after the play had fallen nearly $5m short of funding earlier this year. He told the show’s producers, led by Ben Spracher, that he could raise the cash – and appeared to deliver with new investors from England who, Mr Bharara said, actually were a quartet of “deep-pocketed phantoms”.
The “investors” were never available to meet or speak to the producers, and when producers began pressing Hotton for the promised cash over the summer, he “orchestrated the false illness, hospitalisation and untimely ‘death’” of one of the phony investors, Mr Bharara said.
In a statement issued through his lawyer, Mr Spracher said he is “totally committed to bringing Rebecca… to New York”.
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