LOS ANGELES () – An aspiring actor was indicted in Los Angeles on Tuesday on suspicion of running a massive Ponzi program that cost hundreds of millions of dollars from investors for fake Hollywood movie licensing agreements, federal prosecutors said.
Zachary Joseph Horwitz, who appeared in low-budget films under the nickname Zach Avery, was charged by a federal grand jury for several reasons, including securities fraud, wire fraud and identity theft, the Los Angeles Times reported.
It was not immediately known if Horwitz had a lawyer.
From 2014 to 2019, Avery reportedly lied to investors to secure $ 690 million in loans to its film company, 1inMM Cital, prosecutors said.
More than 200 investors, including Horwitz’s three closest friends at the college and their families, lost $ 230 million, the Times reported.
Prosecutors said Horwitz told investors that their money would be used to purchase film distribution rights, which would then be licensed on platforms such as HBO and Netflix.
But instead of using the funds to close distribution deals, Horwitz reportedly ran his company as a Ponzi scheme, using the victims’ money to repay former investors and finance his own lifestyle, including buying a $ 6 million home, prosecutors said.
According to a sworn statement, Netflix and HBO denied that their companies were involved in any business with Horwitz.
Horwitz was arrested on June 6 on initial charges of fraud and, according to the rapporteur, spent more than two weeks in prison before being released from custody for $ 1 million.