Actor dupes investors in Ponzi scheme with fake Netflix, HBO licenses, pleads guilty

On Monday, Zach Avery, an aspiring actor, who has played extra roles in films, pleaded guilty for defrauding investors by claiming that he had licensing deals with HBO and Netflix. Avery raised more than $650 million in a Ponzi scheme.

According to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s office, Zachary Joseph Horowitz, who goes by the screen name of Zach Avery, entered a guilty plea to the charge of securities fraud.

The 34-year old Los Angeles based actor collected several millions of dollars in loans for his 1inMM Capital LLC. He said that the firm would buy distribution rights from several movie makers. These movies would be licensed to streaming platforms such as Netflix and HBO. He lured his investors by telling them that they could get huge returns on their investments.

Horowitz used money invested in his firm to repay loans that he had taken earlier. This is how a Ponzi scheme works. Money that is collected from late investors is given to early investors until there’s no money left to return.

He also used the funds that were collected to pay for a lavish lifestyle including an approximately $6 million home in LA. He used fake email ids of Netflix and HBO to reassure his investors and was reported to the FBI by Netflix and WarnerMedia.

He remains out of custody on a $1 million bond and has an ankle monitor till he will be sentenced on January 3, 2022. He could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison.

Avery’s lawyer told the court that his client knew “that this day would come” while the defense lawyer told Rolling Stone that Mr. Horowitz accepting the plea was an important step in accepting responsibility.

Horowitz appeared in bit roles in low budget films including “Trespassers” in 2018 and “The Devil Below” in 2021, under the name Zak Avery. His biodata on imdb said that he acted in many films as an uncredited actor

Imge Credit Twitter and Lionsgate

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