Man says mob threats made him admit to Hawaii concert scam
HONOLULU (AP) — A man who admitted lying about his ability to secure Stevie Wonder for a University of Hawaii fundraising concert said in court documents that he pleaded guilty because he feared prosecutors would reveal his cooperation against East Coast mobsters.
Marc Hubbard pleaded guilty in 2016 to wire fraud, saying he lied about being able to bring the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer to Hawaii for a concert. In 2012, the university paid a $200,000 deposit, began selling tickets and then learned neither Wonder nor his representatives had authorized a show.
The day before Marc Hubbard was scheduled to be sentenced last month, he filed a sealed motion saying he wanted to withdraw his 2016 guilty plea. A judge postponed the sentencing and has yet to rule on the motion.
The motion was unsealed this week at the request of prosecutors and The Associated Press.
Hubbard said he was coerced into pleading guilty to charges that he scammed the university, claiming his family is at risk for mob retaliation.
He offered to cooperate against purported organized crime figures in an attempt to get credit for a reduced sentence on a similar case in Pennsylvania, according to court documents. But his help was useless, “because his cooperation did not generate anything of evidentiary value, and did not contribute to the charging or conviction of anyone,” said Jennifer Chun Barry, the federal prosecutor who handled that case.
Hubbard is serving a more-than-six-year sentence in that case, where he pleaded guilty in a scam involving victims who invested in concerts.
“Hubbard is apparently dissatisfied with the sentence imposed in his Pennsylvania case,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Marc Wallenstein wrote in a court document opposing allowing Hubbard to withdraw his Hawaii plea.
It took Hubbard more than a year to attempt to take back his plea, he noted. “Hubbard’s late filing of his motion to withdraw plea is entirely of his own making, and is merely a last-ditch effort to escape responsibility for the crimes that he committed,” Wallenstein wrote.
Hubbard’s argument that he was coerced is illogical, Wallenstein wrote.
“That cooperation had absolutely nothing to do with Hubbard’s Hawaii case, and there is no reason why individuals on the East Coast who purportedly wished to harm him would care one way or the other whether he pled guilty in Hawaii.”