New York police have arrested a former stockbroker suspected of attempting to defraud producers of a planned Broadway musical adaptation of Alfred Hitchcock's Rebecca.
The stage production fell apart earlier this month amid concerns over its financial situation.
Mark Hotton was arrested at his Long Island, N.Y. home Monday morning and will appear in court later in the day, according to Manhattan-based U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara and FBI officials investigating the case.
"Mark Hotton perpetrated stranger-than-fiction frauds both on and off Broadway," Bharara said.
"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."
According to the official complaint, Hotton mislead producers of the musical into believing that he had secured $4.5 million U.S. in overseas investment for the show, which had previously debuted in Vienna. In turn, they had paid him in tens of thousands of dollars in fees and commissions for attracting investors.
In September, the authorities began investigating the show's finances after the investment failed to materialize. Officials said they uncovered a trail of faked email accounts and websites as well as fabricated identities and addresses.
Hotton faces two counts of wire fraud, each punishable by up to 20 years in prison. His attorney has not issued comment.
The musical Rebecca is based on Hitchcock's Oscar-winning 1940 psychological drama. The classic film, in turn, was inspired by Daphne du Maurier's 1938 novel about an aristocratic widower, his new bride and his dead first wife's lingering presence in their lives.
"Hotton's fraudulent conduct did enormous damage to Broadway and to Rebecca," said Ronald Russo, attorney for the musical's lead producer, Ben Sprecher.
Russo added that his client "is totally committed to bringing Rebecca to New York."