Los Angeles – An aspiring actor Zachary Horwitz has been sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for running a massive Ponzi scheme that raised at least $650 million from investors by claiming Hollywood film licensing deals.
Los Angeles resident Zachary Horwitz, 35, also must repay more than $230.3 million.
Prosecutors claimed Horwitz obtained hundreds of millions of dollars in loans for his film company, 1inMM Capital LLC, by falsely stating the money would be used to buy distribution rights to movies, which would then be licensed to streaming companies like Netflix and HBO.
Horwitz allegedly used some of the money to pay back investors in a Ponzi scheme and to pay for a $6 million house he bought.
Authorities report that more than 200 investors lost about $230 million, including three of Horwitz’s closest college friends and their relatives.
A federal charge of securities fraud was filed against him last October. During that time, the U.S. attorney’s office stated he could face up to 20 years in prison.
Last April, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced that it had frozen the assets of Horwitz and his company. The SEC claimed that Horwitz showed investors documents that were false
“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.”
Horwitz was arrested on a fraud charge on April 6 and spent more than two weeks in jail before being released on a $1 million bond.
A sworn affidavit states that Netflix and HBO denied doing business with Horwitz at that time.
Under the name Zach Avery, Horwitz had starred in a number of movies. Among his credits are the 2018 film “Trespassers” and the 2021 film “The Devil Below.”
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