On Tuesday, Zachary Horwitz, a small-time actor, was arrested in Los Angeles for his alleged involvement in a massive Ponzi scheme, according to The LA Times. Authorities say that the 34-year-old Horwitz defrauded investors out of $227 million by peddling fake licensing deals with HBO, Netflix, and others.
Horwitz has appeared in films using the name Zach Avery, and has credits that date back more than a decade.
He’s accused of fabricating emails from HBO and Netflix executives that touted sham distribution agreements so that he could acquire money to hold off investors who were demanding payment.
FBI agent John Verrastro says that Horwitz was able to get investors to give lots of money to his film distribution company, 1inMM Capital LLC.
Horwitz is alleged to have gifted investors with Johnny Walker Blue Label scotch aside a yearly investors report that boasted of a 52-film “library” that was being distributed overseas. Films mentioned in this library include the horror movie The Lords of Salem, as well as the Jean-Claude Van Damme classic Kickboxer.
You probably see where this is going, but the FBI says no such licensing deals existed, and that Horwitz used most of the money on himself.
He’s alleged to have told investors of made-up “strategic partnerships” with the formerly mentioned companies that involved him licensing foreign distribution rights. Investors were promised returns of as high as 40 percent within a year.
Since December 2019, the company has defaulted on well over 100 payments to investors. The FBI says that Horwitz owes those parties close to $227 million on principal, which doesn’t include promised profits from said investments.
On Tuesday morning he was arrested at his home on a charge of wire fraud. The home was also scoured for evidence of potential crimes that include securities and mail fraud, and money laundering.
In a Tuesday court appearance he told a judge that he understands the government’s allegations against him.
The judge agreed to release Horwitz on a secured bond of $1 million.