The producers of Ragtime, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Show Boat, Barrymore and more are accused of defrauding investors of $500 million by tampering with financial records, and participating in and directing large-scale fraud for five years. Livent fell apart in 1998, but when its dust cloud cleared, some of the most memorable plays, scores and performances of the 1990s were evident — Seussical is now a smash licensed property, Fosse won the Best Musical Tony, Spider Woman won John Kander and Fred Ebb a Tony for Best Score, Christopher Plummer was praised and Tony-honored for his turn as John Barrymore, and Ragtime was a multiple Tony winner.
According to a Hollywood Reporter story, prosecutors said the fraud included false invoicing, inflated ticket sales or reducing expenses of losing shows by rolling them forward to future productions.
They are accused of keeping two sets of books — one for real expenses, one for investors.
The trial is expected to last six months.