A Hollywood actor named Zachary Thomas Horwitz was arrested by the FBI Tuesday morning at his Beverlywood home and indicted on wire fraud charges in connection with what federal prosecutors call an elaborate $227 million Ponzi scheme that falsely promised to license Latin content for platforms including Netflix and HBO.
The 34-year-old blue-eyed pretty boy used the stage name Zach Avery and most recently appeared in The Devil Below, a low-budget horror movie. When he wasn’t acting, he reportedly operated 1inMM Capital LLC, a film distribution company at the center of the federal indictment unsealed in U.S. District Court on Tuesday.
He also appeared in the 2020 horror movie You’re Not Alone and the 2017 sci-fi thriller Curvature, but it was his real persona that turned out to be a nightmare for investors.
Horwitz is accused of telling investors that he was raising money to buy films and distribute them through Netflix and HBO, and allegedly even presented bogus business deals and forged faked emails in order to swindle people for his firm, 1inMM Capital LLC.
It all began in 2015, not long after Horwitz moved into a sprawling $6 million estate at 9615 Bolton Road, which the FBI described in the affidavit as “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.”
Right around that time, investment firms entered into a series of promissory notes to “purchase regional distribution rights to films and then license the rights to online platforms such as Netflix and HBO,” federal prosecutors said.
Horwitz allegedly provided promotional materials to investors that claimed 1inMM Capital offered “safe” investments because “we receive confirmation from each of our outputs indicating their desire to acquire the rights to any title we purchase PRIOR to us releasing funds for the film,” according to an FBI affidavit unsealed after his arrest.
According to the FBI, he initially made good on the investments, but the alleged scam started to unravel in 2019, when the investment firms said Horwitz began defaulting on the notes. In order to stave off complaints, Horwitz allegedly used the real names of studio executives at the distributors to create fake emails and storylines to justify delays on repayments.
“Neither Horwitz nor 1inMM Capital ever engaged in email correspondence with Netflix or HBO, nor did Horwitz or 1inMM Capital ever have any business relationship with Netflix or HBO at all. The email exchanges and licensing agreements were fake,” the FBI affidavit says.
By then, the money was gone. The FBI says Horwitz used the dough to fund his “personal expenses or payment of returns on earlier investments in a manner consistent with a Ponzi scheme.”
Horwitz remains in jail after his initial federal court appearance on wire fraud charges. A U.S. Magistrate Judge set his bail at $1 million, but he will not be released until the bond is approved.
He is slated to be arraigned on the charges May 13 and could face up to 20 years in prison.