- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 17, 2012

NEW YORK (AP) - A former stockbroker charged with defrauding a fledgling Broadway production was held without bail Wednesday after a prosecutor called him a "considerable threat" to the community.

Mark Hotton, who faces wire fraud charges and accusations that he ruined the finances for the $12 million Broadway adaption of the psychological thriller "Rebecca" with false promises from phantom investors in an elaborate fraud, did not speak as he made his first appearance in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.

Hotton, who lost his stockbroker’s license last year, was read his rights by U.S. Magistrate Judge Gabriel Gorenstein, who also described the charges against him during a proceeding that lasted several minutes. If convicted, Hotton, 46, could face up to 40 years in prison.

When the judge asked about bail, Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward Diskant launched into an argument for Hotton’s detention pending trial, calling him "a risk of flight and a considerable threat to the community."

Defense lawyer Gerald Shargel cut off the argument, saying he consented to Hotton’s detention until he could prepare his own arguments for bail.

Outside court, Shargel said he was still reviewing the case against Hotton, who’s from West Islip, east of New York.

"Accusations are flying all over the place, but I don’t find the evidence compelling," Shargel said.

It was the second court appearance this week for Hotton, who appeared in federal court in Central Islip after his arrest on Monday. Charged in several plots, he was ordered detained after the government said he was a flight risk.

Prosecutors say Hotton lived large, enjoying waterfront property and pleasure boats, as he was swindling investors nationwide of $15 million with a web of shell companies, paying customers small dividends while he spent the rest of the money.

They said Hotton was charged in the "Rebecca" case after he claimed he could raise $4 million to cover a shortfall in the play’s budget. In return for $15,000 in fees and commissions and an additional $18,000 advance against his 8 percent commission, Hotton claimed he had secured money from four overseas investors, including a man named Paul Adams, the government said.

Later, Hotton notified producers that Adams had died from malaria following a trip to Africa, prosecutors said. But there’s no evidence Adams existed, they said.

In announcing the charges earlier this week, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said Hotton had "faked lives, faked companies and even staged a fake death."

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