Who is Zachary Horwitz? Hollywood actor conned 200 people in $690M film investment Ponzi scheme, arrested
BEVERLYWOOD, LOS ANGELES: Zachary Horwitz, who is also known by his stage name Zach Avery, was arrested on Monday, April 5, on charges of running a Ponzi scheme that led to at least 200 investors losing $227M. As per the US Attorney's Office, Horwitz was arrested by FBI special agents. An arraignment is set to take place on May 13 and Horwitz was released on a $1M bond.
Horwitz had claimed the money that belonged to the investors would be "used for buying rights to films that HBO and Netflix had signed on to distribute internationally, particularly in Latin America", Variety reported. On Tuesday, April 6, he was present at an appearance at the United States District Court on a wire fraud charge which reportedly carries a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in jail.
The publication also reported about the technicalities of the situation. The complaint alleges that the accused had "solicited investors for his company 1inMM Capital LLC", telling them that he would "purchase the regional distribution rights to films and then license the rights to platforms including Netflix and HBO". It was also revealed that his company's (launched in 2013) promotion materials had claimed that they offered "safe" investments because they "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.”
The accused had shown investors "fake licensing and distribution agreements with Netflix and HBO" that had also "forged and fictional signatures". But both the streaming giant and the network have said that they have had no business dealings with Horwitz or his company. Reports indicate that distribution documents for 'Bitter Harvest' and 'Divide and Conquer' were "purportedly signed" by companies such as Sierra/Affinity. The company has also made it clear that they have no business dealings with the accused.
The Securities and Exchange Commission reportedly claims that the Ponzi scheme raised over $690M. Horwitz simply had "duped" his investors by lying about the amount of success of his film distribution company. The New York Post reported that Horwitz had also told his investors that his company had distributed 52 films in South America, Africa and Australia. He also gave them bottles of Johnny Walker Blue Label scotch. The LA times reported that Horwitz was arrested at his home in Beverlywood and his house was also searched for evidence "of securities and mail fraud, money laundering and other crimes". As per reports, the home is listed for $6.5M on Zillow. According to the FBI, Horwitz owes investors $227M in "principal alone".
Who is Zachary Horwitz?
Horwitz, 34, was born on December 5, 1986, and is an Los Angeles-based actor and movie investor who has appeared in low-budget movies such as 'The Devil Below' (2021) where he played the role of Jaime. As per the actor's IMDb page, he had played football for Indiana University but had an injury that stopped him from making it to the NFL. He was part of the doctoral program at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology after he had graduated from university.
His known roles include Sam Pivnic in 'Last Moment of Clarity' (2020), Michael Jones in 'The White Crow' (2018), Officer Martin Fellows in 'Farming' (2018) and an SS Medic in 'Fury' (2014). His other works include 'Game Time' (2011), 'Curvature' (2017), 'Trespassers' (2018), and the more recent, 'You're Not Alone' (2020). He has a release titled 'The Gateway' which is listed to be in post-production, where the actor will be playing the role of Mike.