Actor Zach Avery arrested on suspicion of running $227 million Ponzi scheme

LOS ANGELES — A Los Angeles man was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of running a $227 million Ponzi scheme that solicited investors for phony film licensing deals, federal prosecutors said.

Actor Zachary Joseph Horwitz, 34, was charged with wire fraud, which carries a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office. It wasn’t immediately known if Horwitz has an attorney.

Horwitz has appeared in minor films under his stage name Zach Avery. His credits include low-budget features such as 2018’s “Trespassers” and 2021’s “The Devil Below.”

Prosecutors said Horwitz told investors that their money would be used to purchase film distribution rights that would then be licensed to platforms such as HBO and Netflix.

But instead of using the funds to make distribution deals, Horwitz allegedly operated his firm 1inMM Capital as a Ponzi scheme, using victims’ money to repay earlier investors and to fund his own lifestyle, including the purchase of a $6 million home, prosecutors said.

Arrests: Jen Shah of ‘Real Housewives of Salt Lake City’ arrested, charged in massive telemarketing scheme

The Securities and Exchange Commission announced Tuesday in a press release that it obtained an asset freeze against Horwitz and his company. According to the SEC’s complaint, he allegedly showed investors “fabricated email communications with representatives of HBO as well as false collections accounts allegedly showing funds available from HBO and Netflix for distribution.”

“We allege that Horwitz promised extremely high returns and made them seem plausible by invoking the names of two well-known entertainment companies and fabricating documents,” said Michele Wein Layne, Director of the SEC’s Los Angeles Regional Office in the release. “We obtained an asset freeze on an emergency basis to secure for the benefit of investors what remains of the money raised by Horwitz.”

Representatives for Netflix and HBO have denied that their companies engaged in any business with Horwitz, according to an affidavit. He is scheduled to be arraigned May 13.

Contributing: Jenna Ryu

Source: Read Full Article