Charlotte club owner faces federal charges in Philadelphia

Marc Hubbard poses with reality TV star Kim Kardashian at a now-closed Club Hush location on Independence Boulevard.
Marc Hubbard poses with reality TV star Kim Kardashian at a now-closed Club Hush location on Independence Boulevard. COURTESY OF MARC HUBBARD

A Charlotte club owner and concert promoter has been indicted in Philadelphia on federal conspiracy and wire fraud charges. He is accused of defrauding investors who put more than $2 million into concert promotions on the promise of big returns.

Marc Hubbard, 46, along with attorney Franklin Green, 45, of Washington, D.C., were charged in an indictment unsealed Tuesday.

During a two-decade career, Hubbard has operated more than a dozen clubs and promoted a number of big-name hip-hop artists, according to his website. But his business ventures have frequently drawn scrutiny from authorities or landed him in court.

In the most high-profile case, a federal grand jury in Honolulu indicted Hubbard in 2012 for wire fraud in connection with a canceled Stevie Wonder concert, which became known as the “Wonder Blunder.” Hubbard, who has pleaded not guilty, awaits a trial scheduled to start Aug. 26.

Pete Anderson, who is representing Hubbard in the Philadelphia case, said his client “fully intends to defend himself and remains confident that he will clear his name.” Hubbard was aware of the investigation, which started years ago, but was surprised and disappointed that charges were brought, he said.

“Mr. Hubbard is a self-made, college-educated and hardworking businessman who has promoted many successful concerts in the past,” Anderson said, declining further comment.

Green could not be immediately reached for comment.

According to the indictment, Hubbard portrayed himself and his company, Sports Dimensions Inc., as a highly successful concert promoter of artists such as Jay-Z, Beyonce and Alicia Keys, with $14.3 million in ticket sales from July 2006 to January 2008. He allegedly promised investors a return of up to 30 percent on their investments in SDI.

Green, a Washington lawyer who previously worked in Philadelphia, allegedly assisted with negotiations with investors, according to the indictment.

Instead of allotting investor money for concert promotions, according to the indictment, Hubbard used the funds to pay other investors and to cover personal and business expenses. The indictment alleges that, in total, investors gave Hubbard about $2 million but only received $326,500 in return.

According to the indictment, Hubbard took at least $1,798,500 from his victims, with Green receiving about $333,000 from that amount.

Similar charges in S.C.

The indictment lists three unnamed investors caught up in the scheme, including one who met with Hubbard and Green in Philadelphia, and one who met with Hubbard in North Carolina. To persuade investors to put money into SDI, the indictment says, Hubbard told them their money was protected by a $10 million surety bond, which wasn’t true.

The charges in Philadelphia appear to be similar to allegations in a 2012 case that the S.C. Attorney General’s Office is prosecuting against Hubbard.

In that case, Hubbard was charged with securities fraud for obtaining $700,000 from a victim for an Alicia Keys concert without using those funds for that purpose. The federal indictment says “Victim #1” loaned Hubbard $700,000 for a 25 percent return in 90 days as part of an investment in three Alicia Keys concerts.

With the Philadelphia charges still under seal, Hubbard was arrested last week and released on a $25,000 unsecured bond after appearing before a magistrate judge in Charlotte. Green has also been arrested, the U.S. attorney’s office in Philadelphia said.

If convicted, Hubbard and Green face maximum possible prison sentences of 20 years in prison, with possible sentencing guidelines ranging from 33 to 57 months. The indictment contains a notice of forfeiture for $2,125,000.

Rothacker: 704-358-5170; Twitter: @rickrothacker

Related stories from Charlotte Observer