It’s stranger than fiction. Reuters have reported that Mark Hotton, a businessman and stockbroker, has been accused of defrauding and deceiving parties involved in producing Rebecca, the Broadway musical, with an web of elaborate lies.
The production is based on a 1938 novel, “Rebecca,” written by Daphne du Maurier. It debuted in Australia in 2006, and since then, has encountered a series of challenges that have prevented it from transitioning to shows in London or on Broadway. The latest of those pitfalls is the charges against Hotton, which include inventing investors with detailed back-stories that were supposedly financially supporting the production, while he continued to collect up to $60,000 in commission and fees for his work.
Hotton cast himself as the hero helping an ailing production. In early 2012 when the play found itself almost $5 million short of the funds needed to open, he promised producers he would raise the cash to make up the difference with contributions from new financiers based out of the UK. However, these investors appear to be a figment of Hotton’s creative imagination. The producers of the play were never able to meet or speak with them due to various excuses Hotton provided ranging from illness and death, to prior engagements. When Hotton claimed to have been visiting the investors abroad, prosecutors say that he remained in the United States. In September of 2012, Hotton invented a real estate company that would provide $1.1 million in loans. Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara alleges that the real estate company was also fictional. If convicted, Hotton will face up to 20 years in jail for his dramatic financial performance, while Rebecca may never see the NYC stage.