Bad Actor Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison for $650 Million Hollywood Ponzi Scheme

Zachary Horwitz confessed to faking deals with Netflix and HBO in a scam that ran six years

The luxe life of a small-time Hollywood actor whose elaborate Ponzi scheme bilked investors who thought they were investing in content for HBO and Netflix out of $230 million has ended as a federal judge sentenced him to two decades in federal prison.

Zachary Joseph Horwitz, 34, started his scheme in 2014, right around the time he used his purloined funds to buy a sprawling $6 million estate at 9615 Bolton Road in Beverlywood, a mansion so elaborate the FBI described it in a search warrant affidavit as being: “consistent with an expensive personal lifestyle. The house includes an extensive home theater, home gym, and wine cellar. Shots of the interior show artwork and what appears to be a grand piano.” 

Horowitz used the stage name Zach Avery and before his arrest had appeared in The Devil Below, a low-budget horror movie. 

As Zach Avery, prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum, Horowitz “portrayed himself as a Hollywood success story. He branded himself as an industry player, who, through his company…leveraged his relationships with online streaming platforms like HBO and Netflix to sell them foreign film distribution rights at a steady premium…But, as his victims came to learn, he was not a successful businessman or Hollywood insider. He just played one in real life.”

Horowitz was also ordered to pay $230,361,884 in restitution to his victims. Horwitz pleaded guilty in October 2021 to one count of securities fraud connected to his Ponzi scheme, which at its height had raised $650,000 million dollars, prosecutors said.

Over the course of about five years, Horwitz used his company – 1inMM Capital LLC, which purported to be a film distribution company – to solicit investors with false claims their money would be used to purchase regional distribution rights to films and then would generate profits by licensing the rights to online platforms such as Netflix and HBO.

Group of private investors began buying hundreds of six- and 12-month promissory notes with 1inMM Capital based on Horwitz’s statements. The funds supplied under each note were supposed to provide money for 1inMM Capital to acquire the rights to a specific film. The promissory notes guaranteed a specified payment on the specified maturity date, as well as the specified amount to be paid at maturity, which included investment returns ranging from 25 percent to 45 percent.”

Only Horowitz didn’t own the distribution rights to any of the films he sold interests in. He promoted his fake company by creating bogus emails and contracts to convince investors to stick with him.

Zach Avery’s IMDB page remains active with 15 credits for his roles in various independent films.

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