Actor and film investor Zachary Horwitz, sometimes credited with the name Zach Avery, was arrested Tuesday on charges that he ran a Ponzi scheme that defrauded investors out of $ 227 million.
Horwitz, 34, was detained by special FBI agents, the US Attorney’s Office reported. Horwitz claimed that the investors’ money would be used to buy rights to movies that HBO and Netflix had signed for international distribution, particularly in Latin America.
Horwitz appeared in United States District Court Tuesday on charges of wire fraud, which carries a legal maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.
The suit alleges that Horwitz solicited investors for his company 1inMM Capital LLC, saying it would buy the regional distribution rights to movies and then license the rights to platforms like Netflix and HBO. Their promotional materials claimed that the company offered “safe” investments because “we received confirmation from each of our products indicating your desire to acquire the rights to any title we purchase BEFORE we release funds for the film.”
But instead, he used the victims’ funds to repay previous investors and buy a $ 6 million home in Beverlywood, according to prosecutors.
Horwitz provided investors with bogus licensing and distribution agreements with Netflix and HBO that contained bogus and fictitious signatures, prosecutors allege. Representatives for Netflix and HBO denied that they were involved in any business with Horwitz or his company, according to the affidavit.
Distribution documents for films such as “Bitter Harvest,” “Active Measures,” and “Divide and Conquer” were allegedly signed by companies such as Sierra / Affinity. Sierra / Affinity also stated in the affidavit that it had no business relationship with Horwitz.
The company’s annual report also listed dozens of movies in its “library,” such as Jean-Claude Van Damme’s “Kickboxer” and James Ponsoldt’s “The Spectacular Now.”
Horwitz has appeared in several low-budget films, such as the horror film “The Devil Below.”
A US trial judge set Horwitz’s bail at $ 1 million, with an arraignment scheduled for May 13.