An actor, known as Zach Avery, who has had minor roles in a handful of films and shorts has been accused of running a multimillion-dollar Ponzi scheme involving phony movie distribution deals.
Zachary Joseph Horwitz, who has acted under the name is Zach Avery, was charged with fraud by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles after allegedly defrauding investors out of more than $227 million, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Horwitz, who has fifteen acting credits to his name going back to 2009, could face 20 years in prison if convicted on all charges.
The 34-year-old actor reportedly told investors that their money would be invested to purchase film rights that he said would be sold to HBO, Netflix, and other services, studios, and producers. Horwitz launched 1inMM Capital LLC in 2013, claiming that the company would distribute British films to Latin American markets through distributing deals with HBO and Netflix.
However, instead of investing in film projects, prosecutors say that Horwitz used the cash from succeeding investors to pay off earlier investors and to fund personal expenses, including a $6 million home. Prosecutors also said that none of the streaming services and distributors have ever had any dealings with Horwitz.
“Horwitz provided investors with fake license agreements, as well as fake distribution agreements with Netflix and HBO, all of which contained forged or fictional signatures,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
Horwitz allegedly sent investors bottles of Johnny Walker Blue Label scotch and claimed in 2015 that his company had “acquired and successfully distributed 49 films through the 1inMM Capital banner without incurring a single loss in the process.”
There is no evidence that any of the “49 films” exist. And as the promised return on investment time came and went, Horwitz supposedly began fabricating email exchanges he claimed were sent by HBO and Netflix executives to convince investors that the deals were pending.
“In reality, neither Horwitz [Avery] nor 1inMM Capital ever engaged in email correspondence with Netflix or HBO, nor did Horwitz [Avery] or 1inMM Capital ever have any business relationship with Netflix or HBO at all,” said FBI agent John Verrastro.
Horwitz’s acting credits include You Are Not Alone, The White Crow, and Farming. He also had an uncredited part in Brad Pit’s war film Fury.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Facebook at: facebook.com/Warner.Todd.Huston.