Zachary Horwitz, a small-time actor, has agreed to plead guilty to masterminding a Hollywood Ponzi scheme that defrauded investors out of millions.
The Los Angeles Times reports the 34-year-old, who went by the name Zach Avery in such films as 2021’s The Devil Below and 2017’s Curvature, has admitted to scamming investors into giving him more than $650 million for fake licensing deals with HBO and Netflix.
Horwitz is scheduled to plead guilty to one count of securities fraud at a hearing next month. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison.
From 2014 to 2019, Horwitz allegedly secured $650 million in loans to his film company, 1inMM Capital, by raising funds from investors for film licensing deals with Netflix and HBO that did not exist. More than 250 investors, including some of Horwitz’s close friends and family members, lost roughly $230 million.
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.
The Ponzi scheme started to unravel in 2019 when Horwitz’s company defaulted on well over 100 payments to investors.
The news arrives just five months after Horwitz was arrested and subsequently indicted by a federal grand jury on five counts of securities fraud, six counts of wire fraud and two counts of aggravated identity theft.