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REBECCA THE MUSICAL Con Mark C. Hotton Pleads Guilty

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The New York Daily News reports that Mark C. Hotton admitted today, July 29, to conning funds from Broadway's REBECCA THE MUSCIAL by fictionalizing millionaire investors. Hotton said the scam was part of a plan to keep $65,000 in finder's fees.

Hotton also pleaded guilty to a similar scheme with a Connecticut real estate firm, and will be tried tomorrow in Long Island in a money laundering conspiracy connected to Brooklyn's Maimonides Medical Center.

"Some of these fees and expenses...were paid as a result of false pretenses by me," Hotton told Judge John Koeltl today, although Hotton said he took less money than investigators originally claimed in the case of REBECCA.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara stated during the proceedings: "Though his lies and deceit were the stuff of fiction, they caused real harm to his victims, and he now faces real consequences."

Those consequences are that Hotton could face up to 40 years in prison at his sentencing, which is scheduled for November 1st. His plea deal with the prosecution, however, would bring the sentence down to around three years.

Following REBECCA's cancellation on Broadway and the news that financier and stock broker Hotton was arrested and called 'a considerable threat' to the community, Hotton was arrested for defrauding the show's producers of $60,000 and for an unrelated $750,000 real estate scheme which prosecutors said featured some of the same deceptions used in the REBECCA fraud.

In October, producers filed a $100 million fraud lawsuit in state Supreme Court against Hotton, a former stockbroker from Long Island on whom they were relying to raise $4.5 million of the show's $12-million budget.

Back in April, BroadwayWorld reported that lead producer of REBECCA, Ben Sprecher, still intended to bring the new msuical to Broadway by the end of the year. After the Fall 2012 production was canceled, Sprecher revealed to BroadwayWorld that another $7 million would be needed to reach the $15 million needed to bring the show to Broadway. For the show to open by the end of the year, the musical needed to raise the money by the end of June.

Since then, Sprecher has continued fundraising for the project. According to Radio Wien, Austria's VWB (Vereinigte Bühnen Wien), who holds the rights to the musical, has extended the deadline through 2014- meaning that the show could now arrive on Broadway next year. The show is currently seeking Austrian producers to help raise the remaining funds to make the Broadway production happen.

Sprecher was reached earlier this month by BroadwayWorld.com in Vienna, where he was assumingly both working on the extension of the rights and on attempting to line up additional funds for the musical, on which he won't give up. Sprecher's lawyer Ronald G. Russo commented: "Fundraising is continuing right now, and he is very commited to bringing REBECCA to Broadway. He is wildly interested and comitted."

A reading for the show was held on March 11, featuring the talents of Ryan Silverman, Karen Mason, Jill Paice, James Barbour (all of whom were attached to star in the Fall 2012 Broadway run) and Rob Gallgher.

Earlier in October, Ben Sprecher and Louise Forlenza, producers for Rebecca, the Musical, announced that they were left with no option but to postpone the show. They released a statement at that time, noting that "After Paul Abrams, a major investor, passed away in London, on August 5th, 2012, and who, with three other colleagues, represented the last portion of $4.5 million of the full capitalization for the production... On September 28th, Sprecher and Forlenza were informed that an extremely malicious e-mail, filled with lies and innuendo, had been sent directly to a new investor that morning from an anonymous third party. The e-mail was designed to scare this investor away and it succeeded. The investor withdrew."

REBECCA, the new musical based on the classic novel by Daphne Du Maurier novel, previously delayed the start of its rehearsals by two weeks due reportedly to the death of a key investor responsible for a $4.5 million investment pool in the production. REBECCA was scheduled to begin rehearsals Monday, September 10 prior to an October 30 first preview and November 18 premiere at the Broadhurst Theatre.

REBECCA had its world premiere in 2006 at Vereinigte Buhnen Wien in Vienna, where it played to sold-out houses for more than three years. Vastly successful productions of REBECCA have also played Budapest, Hungary; Bucharest, Romania; Helsinki, Finland; Stuttgart, Germany; St. Gallen, Switzerland and at the Imperial Theatre in Tokyo.


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