Broadway producers sent to jail

Garth Drabinsky and Myron Gottlieb, who founded the Canada-based theatre company Livent in the 1990s, face seven and six years behind bars respectively.

During sentencing in Toronto on Wednesday (05Aug09), Ontario Superior Court Justice Mary Lou Benotto said, “The court has a duty to strongly denounce such conduct. Those in business must know… that this will be the court’s response to corporate fraud.

The pair was convicted on two counts of fraud and one count of forgery in March (09) after Benotto ruled that they knowingly overstated their company’s financial position to investors from 1994-1998.

The fraud was revealed in 1998 when Livent filed for bankruptcy – ironically the same year their production of Ragtime won the Tony Award for Best Original Score, and the show’s star Audra McDonald was named Best Featured Actress.

In 1999, the pair was indicted in the U.S. on charges of misappropriating millions of dollars from American investors, and Canadian authorities charged Drabinsky and Gottlieb in 2002.

Drabinsky was sentenced to seven years and four years for the two counts of fraud, while Gottlieb was given six years and four years for the charges. The sentences are to be served concurrently. The one count of forgery against each man was suspended.