Man Sentenced to 57 Months in Jail for ‘Wonder Blunder’
The man at the center of a failed Stevie Wonder Concert, has since been sentenced to 4 years and 9 months in jail for defrauding the University of Hawaiʻi. The incident gained the nickname “Wonder Blunder” in public circles after the scam was realized.
US District Court Judge Leslie E. Kobayashi sentenced Marc Hubbard, age 50, to 57 months in prison on Friday, for defrauding the University of Hawaiʻi in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343.
Hubbard pled guilty to the offense on Oct. 4, 2016.
Kenji M. Price, US Attorney for the District of Hawaiʻi, said that according to court documents and information presented in court, in 2012, Hubbard falsely represented that he could book Stevie Wonder for a proposed concert to benefit the athletics program at the University of Hawaiʻi.
He made those false representations to an associate of his, whom he knew would relay them to the University. When his associate did so, in reliance on those false statements and to secure the concert, the University of Hawaiʻi wired $250,000, and a supporter of the University wired an additional $50,000.
The money was sent to Hubbard’s associate, and Hubbard personally received $147,500 of those funds, which he kept for himself and used for his own purposes.
The day before Hubbard was originally scheduled to be sentenced, he moved to withdraw his guilty plea.
Judge Kobayashi gave Hubbard time to submit additional written materials, and then held a hearing during which Hubbard testified under oath, denying that he had committed fraud.
After considering his testimony, and the evidence in the case, Judge Kobayashi denied Hubbard’s motion to withdraw his guilty plea. At Friday’s sentencing, Judge Kobayashi commented that Hubbard’s recent testimony was “completely opposite” the testimony he gave when he pled guilty.
Because the testimony was so “diametrically opposed” to what Hubbard had previously stated, Judge Kobayashi found that Hubbard had willfully given false testimony and obstructed justice. She also found that he had failed to accept responsibility. Those determinations exposed Hubbard to a longer sentence.
Judge Kobayashi ordered that Hubbard’s 57-month sentence run consecutively to the 78-month sentence he is currently serving in another case in Pennsylvania.
In imposing a consecutive sentence, Judge Kobayashi noted several aggravating factors. She highlighted the significance of the fraud on the local community, noting that it had “deeply wounded morale” at the University of Hawaiʻi.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and prosecuted by Assistant US Attorney Marc A. Wallenstein.