Actor pleads guilty to $650 million Ponzi scheme that lied about Netflix, HBO deals

An actor behind a Ponzi scheme that cost investors more than $230 million with false promises of movie rights, pleaded guilty Monday and faces up to 20 years in prison, prosecutors said.

The man, Zachary Joseph Horwitz, 34, of Los Angeles, used money from the year-long plan to buy a $6 million home and pay off hundreds of thousands of dollars in credit card debt.

He pleaded guilty Monday to one count of securities fraud, the US Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California said in a statement.

Horwitz told investors their money would be used to secure rights to movies Netflix and HBO had agreed to distribute abroad, officials said.

But the money didn’t go there, and the licensing agreements and deals with Netflix and HBO were bogus, Horwitz admitted in a plea deal. The companies said they have never done business with him or his company, prosecutors said. The total settlement raised at least $650 million and caused more than $230 million in losses.

“Mr. Horwitz has accepted responsibility for his actions and today’s plea is an important step in that process,” said his attorney, Ryan S. Hedges.

The Ponzi scheme eventually collapsed and 1inMM Capital started defaulting on promissory notes in 2019. Horwitz used the money that came in to pay off previous investors and support the settlement, according to court documents.

Horwitz used some of the stolen money to buy a $6 million home in Beverlywood, a Los Angeles neighborhood south of Beverly Hills, and paid more than $300,000 in credit card debt, prosecutors said. He will be sentenced on January 2.

According to his IMDb profile, Horwitz has 15 acting credits to his name. Four of them are for shorts; about half of them call him an unnamed extra.

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