Aspiring film actor Zachary Horwitz was indicted Tuesday for running what federal investigators describe as one of the most daring Ponzi schemes in Hollywood history.
Horwitz, who appeared in horror and science-fiction movies under the screen name Zach Avery, was charged by a federal grand jury with five counts of securities fraud, six counts of wire fraud and two counts of aggravated identity theft. From 2014 to 2019, prosecutors say, he lied to investors to secure $690 million in loans to his film company, 1inMM Capital.
Horwitz was arrested April 6 on an initial fraud charge and spent more than two weeks in jail before his release on a $1-million bond.
Horwitz told investors he was using their money to buy the rights to hundreds of movies and resell them to Netflix, HBO and other platforms for distribution abroad, mainly in Latin America, according to the government. But the HBO and Netflix contracts he showed investors were fake, prosecutors say.
Horwitz was actually using loans from one group of investors to repay what he’d borrowed from another — and skimming off millions of dollars to fund his “opulent lifestyle,” the indictment charged.
More than 200 investors, including three of Horwitz’s closest college friends and their family members, lost about $230 million, the government says.
The Securities and Exchange Commission, which has frozen Horwitz’s assets, has been trying to track what happened to all the money.
Its initial accounting identified less than…