A Broadway show fraud that possibly sunk the planned adaptation of Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca on the Great White Way has netted several arrests, including that of a man police say defrauded those involved with the show of significant amounts of money.
But the Broadway show fraud was also its own separate drama, one aside from the play, and Manhattan federal prosecutor Preet Bharara described a more-dramatic-than-fiction tale of intrique while announcing the arrests in the case. In a statement, Bharara said:
“Mark Hotton perpetrated stranger-than-fiction frauds both on and off Broadway … Hotton concocted a cast of characters to invest in a major musical – investors who turned out to be deep-pocketed phantoms. To carry out the alleged fraud, Hotton faked lives, faked companies and even staged a fake death, pretending that one imaginary investor had suddenly died from malaria.”
Hotton was taken into custody early this morning at his home in West Islip, New York after the Broadway show fraud came to light earlier this month. Prosecutors say that the planned adaptation of the novel began to fell apart when those involved probed deeper into the show’s financing, and began to suspect one of the play’s main “financiers,” a supposedly reclusive businessman by the name of Paul Abrams, (who, it was claimed, died) had actually never existed.
Ronald Russo, attorney for Rebecca’s lead producer Ben Sprecher, commented on the Broadway show fraud and arrests:
“Mr. Hotton’s fraudulent conduct did enormous damage to Broadway and to ‘Rebecca … Mr. Sprecher is totally committed to bringing ‘Rebecca’ to New York.”
Along with Hotton, his wife and three other associates were charged in the Broadway show fraud, as well as in related and unrelated other alleged frauds.