Aspiring actor Zachary Horwitz was indicted Tuesday for allegedly masterminding a $690 million Hollywood Ponzi scheme, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Horwitz, 34, who went by the name Zach Avery in such films as 2021’s The Devil Below and 2017’s Curvature, was charged by a federal grand jury with multiple counts, including securities fraud, wire fraud, and identity theft.
From 2014 to 2019, Horwitz secured $690 million in loans to his film company, 1inMM Capital, by showing investors numerous fictitious documents to substantiate his claimed deals with HBO and Netflix, including numerous fake movie distribution agreements, prosecutors said.
More than 200 investors, including three of Horwitz’s closest college friends and their family members, lost roughly $230 million, the LA Times reports.
According to court documents, Horwitz misappropriated investor funds to purchase a $5.7 million home in 2018. He also spent $100,000 on trips to Las Vegas, made payments to American Express of at least $1.8 million, and paid almost $700,000 to a celebrity interior designer.
In early 2020, Horwitz began lulling investors with false promises that he and 1inMM were on the verge of reaching agreements with HBO and/or Netflix, and would soon be able to repay investors from the proceeds of those settlements. To make his lies more convincing, he showed investors fabricated email communications with representatives of HBO as well as false collections account allegedly showing funds available from HBO and Netflix for distribution.
Representatives for Netflix and HBO have denied that their companies engaged in any business with Horwitz, KTLA reports.
Horwitz was arrested in Los Angeles on April 6 on an initial fraud charge and spent more than two weeks in jail before his release on a $1-million bond.