Canadian theatre producers sentenced for fraud

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Garth Drabinsky and Myron Gottlieb, founders of Live Entertainment Corporation of Canada, Inc. (Livent) in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, were sentenced Wednesday to concurrent prison terms for corporate fraud and forgery which resulted in millions of dollars in losses to their investors for close to a decade. Drabinsky received four years on one count and seven years on a second count. Gottlieb got four years and six years on two counts of fraud.

"No one is above the law. No one gets to write his own rules," said Ontario Superior Court Justice Mary Lou Benotto. "Corporate fraud such as this results in tangible losses to employees, creditors and investors." File:Freddyphantom.jpg

The Phantom of the Opera
(Image missing from Commons: image; log)

Senior executives Drabinsky, Gottlieb, Robert Topol, and Gorden Eckstein were all charged by the RCMP in 2002. Eckstein pleaded guilty to fraud and testified at the court cast against Drabinsky and Gottleib. Topol had his trial stayed due to adjournments and delays.

The Livent company had produced plays such as The Phantom of the Opera, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Show Boat, and Ragtime in Toronto, before its sale to Michael Ovitz in 1998. Ovitz ordered an audit of the company following which it went bankrupt by the year's end. Livent filed a CA$ 225 million lawsuit against the former chairman Drabinsky and former president Gottlieb, who were summarily dismissed.

Drabinsky and Gottlieb are also facing charges in the United States for misrepresentations of financial worth to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.