DA Vance: Theatre Producer Indicted for Stealing From Investors in Fake Broadway Play


August 19, 2016

“Play” Purportedly Based on Life of Opera Singer Kathleen Battle, “Starring” Lupita Nyong’o

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the indictment of ROLAND SCAHILL, 41, for stealing $165,000 from seven people through a fraudulent investment scheme in a fake Broadway play. The defendant is charged in a New York State Supreme Court indictment with Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Second Degree, Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, and Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree. [1]

“This indictment closes the curtain on Roland Scahill’s phantom production,” said District Attorney Vance. “The defendant is accused of putting on an elaborate performance to steal $165,000 from seven people in less than three months – going so far as to tell his victims that he secured Kathleen Battle’s life rights, that Lupita Nyong’o had agreed to star in the production, and that Broadway’s historic Booth Theatre had agreed to run the show. Even worse, in an attempt to steal additional money from those he had already victimized, Scahill is alleged to have told the investors that he secured a contract with Netflix to film the play and make it available to its millions of subscribers. My Office will continue working to safeguard the integrity of this vital industry.”

According to court documents and statements made on the record in court, between October 13, 2014 and January 8, 2015, SCAHILL stole $165,000 from seven would-be investors through a scheme he orchestrated in which he purported to be the lead producer of a new Broadway play based on the life of famed opera singer Kathleen Battle. SCAHILL, who owns a production company called RMS2 Productions, claimed that he had purchased the rights to Kathleen Battle’s life story, that he had contracted with Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o to star in the play, and that he had reserved the Booth Theatre on Broadway to run the production. However, representatives for those parties attest that they were never approached by the defendant and never contracted with the defendant. 

In the initial stages of the scam, the defendant told the would-be investors that he was raising capital at a price of $15,000 per share in order to fund the early stages of the production. SCAHILL told the victims that only investors who participated in the early stages of the investment process would receive subsidiary rights in the production, allowing each investor the potential to garner multiple income streams in any subsequent book or film deals based on the play.

According to court documents, in January 2015, SCAHILL informed all of the investors that Netflix had agreed to film a performance of The KB Project and make the play available to its subscribers. Citing his fictitious contract with Netflix, SCAHILL offered the existing investors the opportunity to participate in a second round of funding before he would open the opportunity to a larger group of outside investors. Based on the strength of SCAHILL’S representations about the success of the planned production, two of the victims invested additional money.

In the fall of 2015, after several investors demanded the return of their money, SCAHILL sent them checks. Each of the checks bounced due to insufficient funds, and the defendant ceased all communications with his victims.

SCAHILL allegedly spent the stolen funds on personal expenses, including more than $129,000 on stocks and stock option contracts; approximately $23,000 in personal credit card payments; $18,000 to pay rent for his apartment; and nearly $10,000 on various food, alcohol, and entertainment purchases. 

Assistant District Attorney William Furber is handling the prosecution of the case under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Archana Rao, Chief of the Financial Frauds Bureau; and Executive Assistant District Attorney Michael Sachs, Chief of the Investigation Division. Paralegal Anna Vaynman and Senior Rackets Investigator Anthony DiCaprio assisted with the investigation.

[1] The charges contained in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. All factual recitations are derived from documents filed in court and statements made on the record in court.

Defendant Information:

ROLAND SCAHILL, D.O.B. 1/17/1975
New York, NY

•    Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Second Degree, a class C felony, one count
•    Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a class D felony, seven counts
•    Scheme to Defraud in First Degree, a class E felony, one count