A low-budget fright flick actor whose most lucrative role was defrauding deep-pocket investors admitted Monday he ran a multimillion-dollar Hollywood Ponzi scheme. Zachary Horwitz, 34, appeared in federal court in downtown Los Angeles and pleaded guilty to a single count of felony securities fraud carrying a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. As part of a plea deal that dropped other wire fraud and identity theft charges carrying decades more prison time, Horwitz admitted he duped wealthy private investors into giving him more than $650 million.
Horwitz sat quietly in the courtroom as a federal prosecutor read through the agreement. It outlined how Horwitz made false promises claiming that investor cash would go toward purchasing regional distribution rights to TV and film projects, which would then be licensed to platforms such as HBO and Netflix. While he used some of the money to pay back early investments and keep his scam going, prosecutors say Horwitz used more than $5 million to fund his “lavish lifestyle,” buying a luxury two-story home in the Beverlywood neighborhood of Los Angeles, complete with a swimming pool, home gym and private screening room.
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Horwitz admits he swindled at least five investors out of $230 million. In one example included in his plea agreement, Horwitz says he duped an Illinois investor into sending him more than $1.4 million in December 2018 with the bogus…