Theater Producer Accused Of Scamming Investors Out Of $165K For Fake Broadway Play

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It sounds like something out of a Broadway musical: a producer approaches investors, hyping a fantastic, inspirational show about a famous opera singer, starring a famous actress. Only this was real life, with a real person accused of scamming seven people out of $165,000.

Prosecutors in New York indicted a theater producer who allegedly orchestrated a scheme revolving around a new Broadway play he was producing, The KB Project, which would be based on the life of singer Kathleen Battle, reports NBC 4. Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o would star in the play, he claimed, and he had reserved the Booth Theatre on Broadway for the production. Representatives for all those parties say the man never approached them, and there were no deals in place.

Not only that, but in January 2015, according to court documents, the producer claimed to have a deal with Netflix to run the play on its platform, and allegedly used that as leverage to convince investors to give him more money in a second round of funding. Two of the victims invested additional money, prosecutors said.

The cracks started to show in the fall of 2015 when several investors asked where their money was. The producer sent them all checks — which bounced due to insufficient funds, prosecutors said, and the suspect ceased all communications.

Those ill-gotten gains allegedly went towards things like $129,000 worth of stocks and stock option contracts; close to $23,000 in personal credit card payments; $18,000 in rent for the producer’s apartment; and around $10,000 on food, alcohol, and entertainment purchases.

He pleaded not guilty to criminal possession of stolen property, grand larceny, and scheme to defraud, all felonies, on Friday.

Theater Producer Makes Up Fake Play Starring Lupita Nyong’o to Bilk Investors Out of $165,000, Indictment Alleges [NBC-4]

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