Actor Zach Avery (aka Zachary Horwitz) was arrested yesterday on charges that he ran a Ponzi scheme that swindled investors out of millions.
Horwitz was taken into custody by the FBI for claiming investors’ money would be used for buying rights to films that HBO and Netflix had signed on to distribute internationally, particularly in Latin America.
According to the FBI and SEC, Horowitz raised over $690 million and owes investors $227 million. The SEC says Avery used the investment scam to fund his own lavish lifestyle, including $100,000 trips to Vegas and a $1.8 million American Express bill.
Horwitz appeared Tuesday in U.S. District Court on a charge of wire fraud, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.
According to Variety,
The complaint alleges that Horwitz solicited investors for his company 1inMM Capital LLC, saying he would purchase the regional distribution rights to films and then license the rights to platforms including Netflix and HBO. His promotional materials claimed the company offered “safe” investments because “we receive confirmation from each of our outputs indicating their desire to acquire the rights to any title we purchase PRIOR to us releasing funds for the film.”
But instead he used the victims’ funds to repay earlier investors and buy a $6 million Beverlywood home, according to prosecutors.
Horwitz provided investors with fake licensing and distribution agreements with Netflix and HBO which contained forged and fictional signatures, the prosecutors allege. Representatives for Netflix and HBO denied that they have engaged in any business with Horwitz or his company, according to the affidavit.
Horwitz, 34, played football for Indiana University until an injury ended his NFL dreams. After graduating he entered the Doctoral program at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology.
(Psych major. Ponzi scheme. Hmmm…)
Horowitz then followed fame and fortune to Hollywood where he was a working actor under the name Zach Avery. Among other credits, he was in 2018’s The White Crow and starred with Samara Weaving & Brian Cox in 2020’s Last Moment of Clarity which is described by IMDB;
Three years after witnessing the murder of his fiancée, a man finds himself a fearful drifter, until one day at a Parisian cinema he sees an actress who looks a lot like his dead love, and eventually he finds the truth about his fiancée.
Documents for fake films titled Bitter Harvest, Active Measures and Divide and Conquer were purportedly signed by companies including Sierra/Affinity who swore in a affidavit that it had no business relationship with Horwitz.
Avery’s fake annual report also pictured dozens of films in its “library” such as Jean-Claude Van Damme’s Kickboxer.
A U.S. Magistrate Judge set Horwitz’s bond at $1 million, with his arraignment set for May 13.
Guilty or not, there goes his movie career –although NOW he’s famous and may star in a future Netflix or HBO documentary-series –Hollywood Ponzi.
(Photos, IMDB; via Variety)