The Producers all over again

The following is an article from the New York Times this week:

“A onetime theater agent was arrested Friday and charged with bilking his friends by raising money for a nonexistent Broadway play that he claimed was to star the actress Lupita Nyong’o.

Roland Scahill, 41, was arraigned on charges of stealing money through a fraudulent investment scheme. He pleaded not guilty.

According to documents filed in court by the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., Mr. Scahill stole a total of $165,000 from seven people he persuaded to invest in the play through a scheme that began in October 2014. Mr. Scahill, the documents say, falsely claimed to have obtained the rights to the life story of the opera singer Kathleen Battle, aiming to produce a one-woman show, starring Ms. Nyong’o, about the day in 1994 when Ms. Battle was fired by the Metropolitan Opera.

The district attorney’s office contends that Mr. Scahill also falsely claimed to have lined up a Shubert theater — the Booth, he said — and to have contracted with Netflix to make and distribute a filmed recording of the show, which he referred to as the “KB project.”

District Attorney Vance, in a statement, called the plan a “phantom production,” and said that indicting Mr. Scahill was part of an effort to “safeguard the integrity of this vital industry.” Prosecutors said that Ms. Battle, Ms. Nyong’o and the Shubert Organization all reported having no knowledge of the scheme. (Ms. Nyong’o, who won an Academy Award for “12 Years a Slave,” made her Broadway debut this spring in the drama “Eclipsed,” set in Liberia.)”

Likely, Mr. Scahill is charged with multiple felonies including grand larceny. In New York, the Theft of property over $1000 in value is Grand Larceny, a felony charge punishable by a prison sentence of more than one year.

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