A low-budget film actor was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of running a $ 227 million Ponzi scheme that asked investors for fake film license agreements, federal prosecutors said.
Zachary Joseph Horwitz, whose screen name is Zach Avery, was charged with wire fraud, which carries a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office. It is not immediately known if Horwitz has a lawyer.
Prosecutors said Horwitz, 34, told investors their money would be used to buy movie distribution rights, which were then licensed to platforms like HBO and Netflix.
But instead of using the funds to make distribution deals, Horwitz allegedly claimed his company 1
Representatives of Netflix and HBO have denied that their companies are dealing with Horwitz, according to a statement.
Horwitz is scheduled for May 13.
Horwitz’s credits as an actor include low-budget features such as “Trespassers,” “The Devil Below” and “Last Moment of Clarity.”
The latter highlighted Horwitz (Avery) as a driver in Paris who believes that an actress he saw in a movie could be his deceased girlfriend. He “gives a pretty good lead,” wrote one reviewer. The film also starred Samara Weaving and Brian Cox.
Here is a trailer for the film, which was reportedly released digitally in May 2020:
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