What to Know
- Broadway producer Ben Sprecher was arrested on federal child pornography charges in Manhattan Tuesday, law enforcement sources say
- Sprecher was notorious for "Rebecca," a $12 million musical that collapsed in 2012 when a key backer turned out not to exist
- His biography indicates he was most recently working on a stage adaptation of the horror classic "The Exorcist"
A Broadway producer with ties to one of the biggest fraud scandals in theatre history faces federal child pornography charges after an early morning raid at his Harlem home Tuesday, law enforcement sources familiar with the case tell News 4.
Ben Sprecher was arrested on a criminal complaint issued by the U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan, the sources said. He was taken into custody by the NYPD and Homeland Security Investigations agents at his home on West 122nd Street, where a search warrant is being executed, the sources say.
The complaint said Sprecher allegedly admitted he possessed child porn files. It also says more than 100 electronic files were seized from his home, including a nearly 46-minute video of a pre-teen girl engaging in sex acts with a man.
It wasn't immediately clear who would represent Sprecher in court.
Sprecher has a lengthy list of Broadway credits, most recently the London stage adaptation of the horror classic "The Exorcist." On his LinkedIn profile, Sprecher also credits himself as a theatre owner-operator, executive producer of the national tour of "Little House on the Prairie" and producer of the Broadway revival of "Brighton Beach Memoirs."
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But he is perhaps most notorious for "Rebecca," a $12 million musical that was set to open in the fall of 2012 -- until Sprecher and other investors found out the show's major backer did not exist.
A Long Island stockbroker named Mark Hotton with a long history of civil fraud lawsuits against him was arrested for scamming Sprecher and the show's other backers. He ultimately plead guilty and was sentenced to more than a decade in prison.
Sprecher was cleared of any involvement in the fraud, but left with his reputation sullied.
“Do I feel like I was duped? I was duped. I was raped," Sprecher told the New York Times in an Oct. 2012 interview.
According to Playbill, lawsuits related to the show's collapse were still being settled as recently as this past May.