A low-budget movie actor was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of running a $ 227 million Ponzi scheme that sought investors for bogus movie licensing deals, federal prosecutors said.
Zachary Joseph Horwitz, whose username is Zach Avery, was charged with wire fraud, which carries a legal maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, according to a statement from the United States Attorney’s Office. It was not immediately known if Horwitz has an attorney.
Prosecutors said the 34-year-old Horwitz told investors their money would be used to buy distribution rights to movies that would later be licensed to platforms such as HBO and Netflix.
But instead of using the funds to make distribution deals, Horwitz allegedly operated his 1inMM Capital company as a Ponzi scheme, using the victims’ money to pay off previous investors and finance his own lifestyle, including buying one. $ 6 million house, prosecutors said.
Representatives for Netflix and HBO have denied that their companies engaged in any business with Horwitz, according to an affidavit.
Horwitz is scheduled to be arraigned on May 13.
Horwitz’s acting credits include low-budget films such as “Trespassers,” “The Devil Below” and “Last Moment of Clarity.”
The latter introduced Horwitz (Avery) as a homeless man in Paris who believes that an actress he saw in a movie could be his deceased girlfriend. He “has a pretty good edge,” wrote one reviewer. The film also starred Samara Weaving and Brian Cox.
Here’s a trailer for that movie, which was reportedly released digitally in May 2020:
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