Federal authorities on Tuesday arrested a Los Angeles film and television actor accused of running a $ 227 million Ponzi scheme that promised non-existent film rights to investors.
Zachary Joseph Horwitz, 34, who acts as Zach Avery, has been arrested by FBI special agents for wire fraud, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California said in a statement. The charge carries a maximum legal sentence of 20 years in prison
According to a criminal complaint, Horwitz solicited investments for his company, 1inMM Capital LLC, which he said would use the funds “to buy regional film distribution rights and then license them on online platforms such as Netflix and HBO “. He is accused of telling investors that the rights relate to films that the streaming companies have agreed to distribute abroad, particularly in Latin America.
Prosecutors allege the program began in 2015.
The actor provided promotional material to investors claiming that “1inMM Capital offers’ safe ‘investments because’ we receive confirmation from each of our exits indicating their desire to acquire the rights to any security we purchase BEFORE we do so. free up funds for the film, ”according to an affidavit.
It also “provided investors with bogus licensing deals, as well as bogus distribution deals with Netflix and HBO, all of which contained forged or fictitious signatures,” prosecutors said.
The funds were instead used to repay previous investors and finance Horwitz’s lifestyle, including the purchase of a $ 6 million residence in Beverlywood, according to the statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Investors began to complain when 1inMM Capital started to run out of ratings in 2019, according to the criminal complaint.
Horwitz did not interrupt the program, officials said. Instead, he forwarded bogus correspondence from Netflix and HBO that provided excuses as to why funds were not available, again using fake signatures from HBO and Netflix employees, according to the ‘affidavit.
Netflix and HBO have denied that their companies have engaged in any business with Horwitz or 1inMM Capital, according to the affidavit.
Horwitz told a United States judicial judge he understood the charge he was facing in a first Los Angeles prison video hearing, according to the Los Angeles Times. The judge set the bond at $ 1 million. His lawyer, Anthony Pacheco, could not be reached for comment on Wednesday morning.
The next Horwitz hearing date is set for May 13.
According to his IMDb profile, he has 15 actor credits to his name.