A Long Island businessman has been arrested on suspicion of defrauding producers of the aborted Broadway musical "Rebecca." Officials with the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's office made the announcement early Monday morning.
Mark Hotton, a 46-year-old businessman and stockbroker from West Islip, N.Y., is being charged with defrauding the musical's producers by "fabricating the prospect of $4.5 million in financing commitments and the possibility of a $1.1 million loan," according to officials at both offices.
They said Hotton was looking forward to $60,000 in fees and commissions from the financing deal made through his company, TM Consulting. They also said Hotton is being charged with a second count of fraud relating to a Connecticut real estate company.
The "Rebecca" scheme allegedly involved the fabrication of four overseas investors whom Hotton apparently concocted out of thin air. He claimed that they were collectively putting $4.5 million into the Broadway production.
When producers starting demanding the money, Hotton allegedly started fabricating stories of illness and even the death of one of the fake investors, according to the FBI and U.S. Attorney's office. They said Hotton subsequently tried to broker a $1.1 million loan for the producers, inventing a second set of investors.
"Rebecca" had been expected to start performances this fall at the Broadhurst Theatre in New York. The musical, based on the Daphne du Maurier novel, has already been performed in Europe, including at venues in Austria and Germany.
After a number of delays, the musical was officially canceled earlier this month. In recent weeks, the New York Times had reported on the alleged mystery investors and the lead producer of "Rebecca," Ben Sprecher.
The musical was written by Michael Kunze and Sylvester Levay, and was first performed in German; the English translation of the show is by playwright Christopher Hampton.
Officials with the FBI and U.S. Attorney's office said that Hotton is being charged with two counts of wire fraud and that he faces a maximum term of 20 years in prison on each count.
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