A concert promoter who swindled the University of Hawaii by promising a Stevie Wonder concert he had no ability to make happen was handed a 57-month sentence on Friday in U.S> District Court, according to the Associated Press.
Mark Hubbard had tried to claw back his guilty verdict related to the 2012 debacle, claiming he feared mob retaliation from his cooperation in an unrelated case in Philadelphia, where he had attempted to use knowledge of organized crime to broker a deal for a reduced sentence. Judge Leslie Kobayashi denied his motion to withdraw his plea and ordered he serve his new time consecutively with the time he is serving related to that Pennsylvania case, rather than concurrently.
In Hubbard’s Hawaii scam, he claimed that he was in contact with Wonder’s management, and said he would secure the legendary Motown performer using a $200,000 deposit from the University as well as $50,000 from a local businessman. In his 2016 guilty plea he admitted he had no connections to Wonder, the concert was never going to take place, and he took $147,000 for himself.
The egregious nature of the fraud, not to mention the impact it had on the University and the community were factors in the sentencing.
The scam not only hurt the university financially, but it subjected the school and the community to ridicule, Kobayashi said, noting the incident has been dubbed the “Wonder Blunder.”
Hawaii athletic director Jim Donovan was reassigned in the wake of the scandal, later leaving the university. He has since served as Director of Athletics at California State University at Fullerton. An investigation by a special state Senate committee found that the incident had “tarnished the university’s reputation.”
Defense attorney William Harrison indicated that Harrison intends to appeal his sentence. A co-defendant in the case awaits their sentence.