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REBECCA Con Man Sentenced to Three Years in Federal Prison, Will Pay $68K in Restitution

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The New York Daily News reports that Mark Hotton, who in 2012 scammed the producers of REBECCA out of $65,000 and all-but extinguished the musical's plans for a Broadway run, was sentenced today, October 10, to almost three years (34 months) in federal prison.

Hotton admitted to his part in what the judge deemed an "extremely elaborate" swindle; the con man "asked for time served" and will also pay $68,000 in restitution to REBECCA's lead producer Ben Sprecher.

Hotton's disastrous fraud scheme cost 130 people their jobs. Sprecher told the News after the hearing: "He did a terrible thing." Hotton refused to speak during the trial; Sprecher commented on Hotton's silence by saying, "An apology would still be nice."

REBECCA was around $4 million away from its goal when Hotton agreed to help the show's producers raise the rest of the money. The News says Hotton "promised access to millionaire investors for a finder's fee. But the investors were make-believe, and when producers got suspicious about one of them, the scammer had him 'die' from malaria."

Hotton will appear in Long Island federal court next month and faces between 11 and 15 years in prison for another plan to take millions from Brooklyn's Maimonides Hospital.

Sprecher is still working to bring REBECCA to the Broadway stage next fall.

According to a release from the show's producers back in January 2014, "REBECCA's previous delay was initially the result of the fraud perpetrated by Mark Hotton (who is now serving time in jail) and then, more damagingly, the consequence of anonymous and malicious e-mails that were revealed to have been sent by the show's previous press agent Marc Thibodeau to a new investor who was replacing a major portion of Hotton's investors. Thibodeau's emails, which were sent as recently as three days before rehearsals were to begin, resulted in the new investor's abrupt withdrawal and the delay of the show in the Fall of 2012. A civil litigation against Thibodeau and unnamed others remains pending and is scheduled to be ready for trial in the middle of 2014. On January 17, 2014, Thibodeau withdrew his countersuit against the musical."

REBECCA features original book and lyrics by Michael Kunze, music by Sylvester Levay, English book adaptation by two-time Tony Award winner Christopher Hampton (Sunset Boulevard), English lyrics by Hampton and Kunze, and direction by Tony Award winner Michael Blakemore (Kiss Me, Kate; City of Angels; Noises Off) and Francesca Zambello (Little Mermaid). Multiple Tony-nominated director/choreographer Graciela Daniele (Ragtime) will create the musical staging for the show. Scenic design is by Peter J. Davidson, costumes by Jane Greenwood, lighting by Mark McCullough, sound by Peter Fitzgerald, hair & wig design by Tom Watson and special effects by Gregory Meeh and projections by Sven Ortel. Musical direction and supervision is by Kevin Stites.

REBECCA is a spectacular new musical drawn from the classic Daphne Du Maurier novel about love and obsession reaching from beyond the grave. In this romantic thriller, Maxim de Winter brings his new wife ("I") home to his estate of Manderley. There she meets the intimidating housekeeper Mrs. Danvers, who had a very special relationship with Maxim's first wife, the beautiful Rebecca, who died a year earlier in a boating accident. The young woman discovers Manderley is a house of devastating secrets, and the mystery of Rebecca may be the greatest of them all as she finds the strength to challenge Mrs. Danvers and save her marriage.

REBECCA had its world premiere in 2006 at Vereinigte Buhnen Wien in Vienna, where it played to sold-out houses for over three years. It continues with successful productions in Budapest, Hungary; Bucharest, Romania; Helsinki, Finland; Stuttgart, Germany; St. Gallen, Switzerland and at the Imperial Theatre in Tokyo, and with a scheduled opening in Copenhagen in March 2014.


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