Zachary J. Horwitz is like a lot of struggling actors in Los Angeles. He appeared in a few minor films, went to auditions, and was chasing the dream like thousands of others like him.
The difference with Horwitz is, his side hustle has landed him in jail. He was arrested on a federal charge Tuesday, that said he was the mastermind of a $227 million Ponzi scheme.
The FBI said that Horwitz fabricated emails from HBO and Netflix execs about film distribution that was completely bogus when investors who had put millions into his non-existent business were trying to get payments.
According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, here’s how the crime went down. Horwitz would send investors bottles of Johnny Walker Blue Label scotch, along with the company’s 2015 annual report that said the company had a library of 52 films that were going to be distributed around the world. Included in this library according to Horwitz was a Jean-Claude Van Damme movie called “Kickboxer.”
Horwitz convinced investors he had strategic partnerships with HBO, Netflix and other streaming platforms who were going to license foreign distribution rights. He promised returns for investors of up to 40% within a year.
The FBI said it’s all a scam, and Horwitz used some of the funds for a $6.5 million home in the Beverlywood section of Los Angeles. The report said since December of 2019, Horwitz has defaulted on over 160 payments to investors, with one investor being owed over $160 million.
It looks like his acting career could be over. You can see his work in these two movies; “Curvature” from 2018, and “Last Moment of Clarity.”