- The SEC obtained an asset freeze against actor Zachary Horwitz in connection with an alleged $690 million Ponzi scheme.
- Horwitz is being accused of lying to investors that he had deals to sell films to Netflix and HBO.
- Horowitz promised investors returns in excess of 35% but paid those returns using funds from new investors.
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The US Securities and Exchange Commission obtained an asset freeze against LA-based actor Zachary Horwitz in connection with an alleged Ponzi scheme that raised over $690 million.
The US regulator said in a Tuesday statement that Horwitz-who goes by the screen name Zach Avery-allegedly lied to investors that he and his company were buying film rights and reselling them to Netflix and HBO. In reality, his company had no business relationship with the entertainment giants and relied on fake emails to fool investors.
According to the SEC statement, Horowitz and his company,1inMM, promised investors returns in excess of 35%, and for years paid supposed returns on earlier investments using funds from new investments.
“We allege that Horwitz promised extremely high returns and made them seem plausible by invoking the names of two well-known entertainment companies and fabricating documents,” said Michele Wein Layne, Director of the SEC’s Los Angeles Regional Office.
In addition, Horwitz misappropriated investor funds for his personal use, using victim’s money to purchase a $6 million property in Beverlywood, California.
The US Justice Department separately issued a statement saying the FBI arrested Horwitz on Tuesday. Horwitz was criminally charged with raising $227 million over the course of about five years that has yet to be repaid as part of a scheme in which he claimed he would acquire rights to films that Netflix and HBO would then distribute abroad, particularly in Latin America, the statement said.
The criminal complaint charges Horwitz with wire fraud, a crime that carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.