Zachary Horwitz, the American actor better known as Zach Avery, has been sentenced to 20 years in prison after he was found guilty of running a $650 million Ponzi scheme.
According to Los Angeles Times, Mark C. Scarsi, US district judge, who convicted the actor on Monday, also ordered him to pay $230 million in restitution to over 250 affected victims.
During the trial, prosecutors said the film star “portrayed himself as a Hollywood success story who branded himself as an industry player.”
The prosecution also claimed the scheme — described as “the biggest scam of its kind in Hollywood history” — took place between 2014 and 2019.
In April 2021, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had arrested the 35-year-old after a complaint by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
The commission had said the movie star deceived investors that 1inMM Capital LLC, his film distribution company, has licensing deals with Netflix and HBO.
“Horwitz falsely claimed to have a track record of successfully selling movie rights to Netflix and HBO when, in fact, neither Horwitz nor 1inMM had ever sold any movie rights to, or done any business with, HBO or Netflix,” it said at the time.
The US department of justice had also said several victims — including three of Horwitz’s closest college friends and their family members — lost $227 million invested in the scheme.