Aspiring Hollywood actor Zach Avery aka Zachary Horwitz was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Monday, February 14, 2022, for his involvement in a million-dollar Ponzi scheme operated by his company 1inMM Capital.
According to the U.S Department of Justice, Central District of California, Avery defrauded several major investors and raised over $650 million, claiming that the money would be used to acquire licensing rights for films that would be distributed by Netflix and HBO in international countries.
However, the claims turned out to be false, and it was revealed that Zach Avery used the money to fund his own lavish lifestyle. As per latest court documents, U.S. District Judge Mark C. Scarsi also ordered the actor to pay $230 million in restitution.
Everything to know about Zach Avery
Zachary Horwitz, who goes by the on screen name Zach Avery, is an American actor. He was born on December 5, 1986, in Berkeley, California. His parents reportedly divorced when he was just 10 years and the actor later moved to Indiana to live with his mother and step-father.
The 35-year-old earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Indiana University and started working towards establishing a career in Hollywood. Avery made his on-screen debut with a role in the 2009 film G.E.D.
Zach Avery then appeared in the 2011 film Game Time before establishing his content production and distribution company 1inMM Productions, along with Julio Hallivis and Diego Hallivis in 2013. Avery also co-founded One Key Entertainment.
The actor appeared in short films like Feign, Nameless and Shifter and even bagged a minor role in the 2014 war film Fury. He played the titular role in the 2016 short film The Laughing Man and appeared in the 2017 film Curvature.
Avery also starred in films like Hell Is Where the Home Is (Trespassers), The White Crow, Farming, Last Moment of Clarity, You’re Not Alone, The Devil Below and The Gateway between 2018 and 2021.
The California-native is married to Mallory Hagedorn and shares a son with his wife.
What did Zach Avery do?
In 2021, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filed a lawsuit against the actor for violating federal security laws. He was later arrested on April 5, 2021, on wire fraud charges for defrauding nearly $650 million in a Ponzi scheme.
Prosecutors alleged Avery scammed nearly 250 investors between 2014 and 2019 and collected $650 million in funds:
“Defendant Zachary Horwitz portrayed himself as a Hollywood success story. He branded himself as an industry player, who, through his company…leveraged his relationships with online streaming platforms like HBO and Netflix to sell them foreign film distribution rights at a steady premium…But, as his victims came to learn, [Horwitz] was not a successful businessman or Hollywood insider. He just played one in real life.”
Avery’s company reportedly cited Netflix and HBO as “strategic partners” and said at least 52 films would be distributed across Africa, Australia, New Zealand and South America by the streaming giants. The Fury actor also promised investors over 35% in returns.
However, the promises faltered when 1inMM Capital defaulted on its promissory notes in 2019. In an attempt to prolong the deal, the company also told investors that the streaming platforms refused to make payments for the distribution deals on time.
As authorities from Netflix and HBO stepped in to aid the investigation around Zach Avery’s company, the fraudulent scheme came to light and led to the actor’s arrest.
Investigators also revealed that Avery used the investment money to fund his extravagant lifestyle, including expenses of a $6 million home in Beverlywood, private jets, expensive cars and huge credit card bills.
Zach Avery pled guilty to the Ponzi scheme charge in October 2021 and has now been sentenced to 20 years in prison, along with the order of paying $230 million in restitution to his victims.