‘Wonder Blunder’ concert promoter pleads guilty to wire fraud

Marc Hubbard
Marc Hubbard

The man behind the notorious “Wonder Blunder” concert plan pleaded guilty to wire fraud Tuesday.

Marc Hubbard of North Carolina, and another man, Sean Barriero, were indicted in 2012 in Honolulu. Hubbard claimed he had the go-ahead to stage a concert featuring Stevie Wonder at the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Stan Sheriff Center.

The concert was supposed to be a benefit for the UH athletics department. Instead, the blunder cost the university $200,000, which was supposedly a partial payment of Wonder’s artist fee for the concert.

Hubbard’s attorney, Bill Harrison, said his client pleaded guilty to fraud and misrepresentation in regards to the concert.

Hubbard is also facing a similar case in Philadelphia, and part of the plea deal is that he would serve both sentences concurrently.

“Basically, this plea will not affect his sentencing at all, because he already pleaded in Philadelphia and our agreement is that whatever sentence he gets will run concurrently with the sentence he gets in Philadelphia,” said Harrison.

On top of that, Hubbard has to pay restitution to UH “because there are two defendants here. They are both jointly liable for that money, which is a total of $250,000,” Harrison added.

The additional $50,000 is to pay back an unnamed UH supporter who helped pay for the supposed Stevie Wonder concert.

Barriero, Hubbard’s co-defendant in the case, pleaded guilty in November 2012 to transporting misappropriated funds. Harrison said Hubbard “knew the co-defendant was making misrepresentations to the university and he assisted in making those misrepresentations.

“(Hubbard) just wants to close this whole chapter in his life and move on,” Harrison said. “It’s been a long time. It’s going on four years that this matter has been pending, and he had the other matter in Philadelphia, so he’s closing the books on both matters.”

As for the money Hubbard collected from UH, Harrison said “my client was actually owed a substantial money from Sean Barriero. Sean owed him approximately $128,000, so when he got the money from the university, he paid my client back, and (Hubbard) used that for general operating expenses because he’s a concert promoter.”

A release from the U.S. Attorney’s office, however, stated that “in court proceedings, Hubbard admitted he kept money for himself, rather than providing it to Stevie Wonder or his management and that he personally obtained $147,500.”

Harrison said Hubbard could be sentenced up to three years. Hubbard’s sentencing in Philadelphia is scheduled for next week. In that case, he allegedly took $7 million from investors for a series of concerts.

Both Hubbard and Barriero will be sentenced in Hawaii on Feb. 16, 2017. Harrison says both men are supposed to put together a payment plan soon after sentencing.

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