Man accused of defrauding Broadway's 'Rebecca' - New York News

Man accused of defrauding Broadway's 'Rebecca'

Posted: Updated:

By TOM HAYS | AP

NEW YORK (AP) -- Mark Hotton appeared out of nowhere this year, offering to come to the financial rescue of a fledgling Broadway adaptation of the psychological thriller "Rebecca."

The musical's producers had never heard of Hotton, but he managed to sell himself as a globe-trotting moneyman with connections to a wealthy Australian named Paul Abrams. That was before Hotton raised suspicions by claiming that Abrams had suddenly dropped dead.

Federal prosecutors charged Hotton on Monday with concocting a tale of phantom investors and an untimely death as imaginative as the classic Alfred Hitchcock film about a man haunted by the memory of his dead first wife.

Hotton, 46, also was charged in two other swindles -- one targeting a Connecticut-based real estate company and another involving his wife, Sherri. They were arrested at their Long Island home on Monday and are awaiting an appearance there in federal court.

Defense attorney Heath Berger did not immediately return a call for comment.

Hotton "perpetrated stranger-than-fiction frauds both on and off Broadway," Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement.

In the "Rebecca" case, he "faked lives, faked companies and even staged a fake death," the prosecutor said.

The planned production of the 1938 novel by Daphne du Maurier collapsed earlier this month amid questions about its financial backing.

 

Lead producer Ben Sprecher "is extremely gratified that Mr. Hotton has been taken into custody," said his attorney, Ronald Russo, adding that Sprecher has "cooperated completely with the investigation."

"Mr. Hotton's fraudulent conduct did enormous damage to Broadway and to `Rebecca,"' Russo said. "Mr. Sprecher is totally committed to bringing `Rebecca' to New York."

According to a criminal complaint, a "third party" suggested this year that the producers contact Hotton to see if he could help them with a $4 million shortfall for the musical's budget. Even though they "had never Hotton or heard of him," they started an email correspondence that convinced them he had secured the money from four overseas investors, including "Paul Abrams," the complaint says.

The producers agreed to pay Hotton $15,000 in fees and commissions between March and June 2012, the complaint says. He was also paid an additional $18,000 "advance" against his 8 percent commission, it says.

While pressing for Abrams to wire the funds in July, Hotton wrote that the investor had been hospitalized with malaria following a trip to Africa, the complaint says. An email later forwarded to the producers -- purportedly written by Abrams' secretary -- read: "Mr. Hotton, I'm so sorry to relay such terrible news -- Mr. Abrams passed away this evening and the family has asked for your attendance at the services ... as you were so close to him."

In a separate Long Island case, federal prosecutors in Brooklyn accused Hotton and his wife of cheating business partners out of $3.7 million.

An indictment alleges that the couple, while operating three electrical contracting companies, created fake invoices showing money owed by third parties. They then sold the purported debts to other companies, the indictment said.

Associated Press writers Kiley Armstrong and Ula Ilnytzky in New York City and Frank Eltman on Long Island contributed to this report.

  • Manhattan NewsManhattan NewsMore>>

  • Search for woman who tried to snatch baby in stroller

    NYPD: Woman tried to snatch baby in stroller

    Friday, April 18 2014 7:37 AM EDT2014-04-18 11:37:43 GMT
    Police want to question a woman who tried to push a stroller with a baby inside away from a nanny in Chelsea. The incident occurred on 8th Ave. and 17th St. at about 4 p.m. on Thursday. The 8-month-old baby was not harmed. People who were in the area jumped in to stop the woman before she took off southbound on 8th Ave., according to police. A sketch was released on Friday of the suspect.
    Police want to question a woman who tried to push a stroller with a baby inside away from a nanny in Chelsea. The incident occurred on 8th Ave. and 17th St. at about 4 p.m. on Thursday. The 8-month-old baby was not harmed. People who were in the area jumped in to stop the woman before she took off southbound on 8th Ave., according to police. A sketch was released on Friday of the suspect.
  • Manhattan restaurant proactive on food allergens

    Manhattan restaurant proactive on food allergens

    Thursday, April 17 2014 10:48 PM EDT2014-04-18 02:48:47 GMT
    From the St. Louis spare to a rack of beef, ribs are the specialty for Chef Eddie Montalvo at Blue Smoke Restaurant in the Flat Iron District of Manhattan. While the ribs are smoked for flavor, they are cooked gluten- and nut-free. The restaurant pays special attention to food allergies. Sloan Miller, president of Allergic Girl Resources, says 15 million Americans have a diagnosed food allergy. Eight foods typically set off reactions: peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, wheat, dairy, egg, an...
    From the St. Louis spare to a rack of beef, ribs are the specialty for Chef Eddie Montalvo at Blue Smoke Restaurant in the Flat Iron District of Manhattan. While the ribs are smoked for flavor, they are cooked gluten- and nut-free. The restaurant pays special attention to food allergies. Sloan Miller, president of Allergic Girl Resources, says 15 million Americans have a diagnosed food allergy. Eight foods typically set off reactions: peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, wheat, dairy, egg, an...
  • NYC to overhaul Superstorm Sandy rebuilding program

    NYC to overhaul Superstorm Sandy rebuilding program

    Thursday, April 17 2014 9:30 PM EDT2014-04-18 01:30:41 GMT
    Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled a sweeping report Thursday that examined New York City's recovery progress from Superstorm Sandy and promised to reform a much-maligned program that was supposed to rebuild wrecked homes. Speaking to about 50 homeowners, officials and community leaders in a storm-battered Staten Island neighborhood, the mayor said the city is aiming to start rebuilding an ambitious 500 homes through its federally funded Build-It-Back program.
    Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled a sweeping report Thursday that examined New York City's recovery progress from Superstorm Sandy and promised to reform a much-maligned program that was supposed to rebuild wrecked homes. Speaking to about 50 homeowners, officials and community leaders in a storm-battered Staten Island neighborhood, the mayor said the city is aiming to start rebuilding an ambitious 500 homes through its federally funded Build-It-Back program.
  • EntertainmentMore>>

  • Valerie Harper: I am not cancer-free

    Valerie Harper: I am not cancer-free

    Friday, April 18 2014 11:48 AM EDT2014-04-18 15:48:29 GMT
    “I was supposed to be dead before last Easter," said Valerie Harper about her diagnosis of cancer in the lining around her brain.  Harper's indomitable spirit and the support from fans of her character 'Rhoda' in the 1970s hit series 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show' has kept her going. "It’s a tasty headline," said Harper about the magazine where the inaccurate report was made.
    “I was supposed to be dead before last Easter," said Valerie Harper about her diagnosis of cancer in the lining around her brain.  Harper's indomitable spirit and the support from fans of her character 'Rhoda' in the 1970s hit series 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show' has kept her going. "It’s a tasty headline," said Harper about the magazine where the inaccurate report was made.
  • Belgian artist Baloji kicks off tour in New York

    Belgian artist Baloji kicks off tour in New York

    Thursday, April 17 2014 7:35 PM EDT2014-04-17 23:35:06 GMT
    To say the 6 feet 5 inch Baloji has a presence would be an understatement. The Belgian artist commands the stage with his mix of hip hop, funk, and rap. The 34-year-old rocked out Webster Hall back in January. Now he's back in New York City kicking off a month-long tour. "It's one of the most inspiring cities on Earth so it's always great to be here," Baloji says.
    To say the 6 feet 5 inch Baloji has a presence would be an understatement. The Belgian artist commands the stage with his mix of hip hop, funk, and rap. The 34-year-old rocked out Webster Hall back in January. Now he's back in New York City kicking off a month-long tour. "It's one of the most inspiring cities on Earth so it's always great to be here," Baloji says.
  • Rapper affiliated with Wu-Tang Clan severs own penis, jumps off balcony in suicide attempt

    Rapper affiliated with Wu-Tang Clan severs own penis, jumps off balcony in suicide attempt

    Andre Johnson, who is more widely known as Northstar rapper Christ Bearer, was hospitalized Wednesday after a suspected suicide attempt, TMZ reports.
    Andre Johnson, who is more widely known as Northstar rapper Christ Bearer, was hospitalized Wednesday after a suspected suicide attempt, TMZ reports.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices