FBI agents arrested American actor Zach Avery on Tuesday in Los Angeles for allegedly masterminding a Ponzi scheme that defrauded investors of hundreds of millions of dollars, according to US authorities.
According to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Avery, whose real name is Zachary Horwitz, told investors that his company 1inMM Capital will buy film distribution rights and license them to Netflix and HBO, but that he had “no commercial relationship with either company.”
Instead, the 34-year-old ran the business like a Ponzi scheme, using money from new investors to pay off older ones, according to a statement from the US Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California.
According to the SEC, his scheme earned more than $690 million. The Department of Justice stated that it started in 2015 and that victims have yet to be reimbursed for $227 million.
Horwitz, who was described as a “small-time performer” by the Los Angeles Times, struggled to find success as an actor. He appeared in the critically panned film “Last Moment of Clarity,” which was released in 2020.
He allegedly used proceeds from the scam to finance a luxurious lifestyle that included trips to Las Vegas, the purchase of a $6 million home, and the hiring of a celebrity interior designer, according to authorities.
The scheme began in 2015, according to authorities, and Horwitz and 1inMM promised victims returns of more than 35 percent.