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Mark Hotton, the Long Island businessman who allegedly tricked producers of Broadway’s canceled Rebecca: The Musical into thinking he’d scored $4.5 million in funding from a hazy, ultimately invented pool of investors, was arrested Monday on two counts of wire fraud.
Hotton, a stockbroker from West Islip, N.Y., is expected to make an appearance in federal court later in the day, the Wall Street Journal reports.
“Mark Hotton perpetrated stranger-than-fiction frauds both on and off Broadway,” said Manhattan’s U.S. attorney Preet Bharara. “Hotton concocted a cast of characters to invest in a major musical — investors who turned out to be deep-pocked phantoms.”
Indeed, the abrupt cancellation of Rebecca: The Musical ahead of rehearsals for its fall debut on the Great White Way has fueled headlines amid offstage drama that could very well inspire a stage show of its own. The musical based on the Daphne du Maurier classic launched in Vienna six years ago, and producers eager to see the show open on Broadway solicited Hotton’s help in securing the financing — $4 million — needed on a budget of $12-$14 million, according to prosecutors.
Hotton, 46, is accused of inventing four overseas backers including one “Paul Abrams,” who coincidentally died of malaria when producers asked to see the money. Hotton is alleged to have fabricated investors in efforts to receive both a fee for setting up financing and a cut of the profits from the show. The Journal reports that producers had paid him $60,000 — including $18,000 for a safari he took with the elusive, non-existent Abrams.
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