The Broadway production team behind the folded show Rebecca: The Musical today filed a $100 million fraud lawsuit against stockbroker Mark Hotton who earlier this week was arrested at his waterfront home on Long Island. Hotton faces federal charges of wire fraud for allegedly fabricating four investors who were going to put up $4.5M in funds for the Broadhurst Theatre show based on the classic Daphne du Maurier novel. The lawsuit mirrors the federal case, charging that Hotton perpetrated “an elaborate ruse. None of the investors existed; he had concocted them all,” according to the lawsuit filed in New York state court. “Hotton made up the names, dates of birth, home addresses, email addresses, telephone numbers, and signatures of purported investors.”
The arrest took place at 6 AM this morning when FBI agents took Mark Hotton into custody at his waterfront home in West Islip, Long Island. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District Of New York in Manhattan, the 46-year-old stockbroker was supposed to help finance the $12M-$14M Broadway show Rebecca: The Musical which folded last month. But allegations are that Hotton fabricated four investors who were going to put up $4.5M in funds for the Broadhurst Theatre show based on the classic Daphne du Maurier novel. The criminal complaint unsealed today in Manhattan federal court describes ”stranger-than-fiction frauds both on and off Broadway… Hotton faked lives, faked companies and even staged a fake death, pretending that one imaginary investor had suddenly died from malaria.” Sounds like a page straight out of Mel Brooks’ The Producers. Hotton is charged with two counts of wire fraud and faces a max 20 years in prison on each count.
Here’s the Feds’ edited news release:
Monday, October 15, 2012 - Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Mary E. Galligan, the Acting Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), today announced the unsealing of a Complaint charging Long Island businessman MARK HOTTON with defrauding the producers of the Broadway show “Rebecca – The Musical” (“Rebecca”) by fabricating the prospect of $4.5 million in financing commitments and the possibility of a $1.1 million loan, so that they would pay him, and entities he controlled, more than $60,000 in fees and commissions. HOTTON was arrested this morning at his Long Island residence, and is expected to be presented in federal court in Central Islip, New York.