An aspiring actor has pleaded guilty to running a massive Ponzi scheme that raised at least $650 million from investors in phony Hollywood film licensing deals
LOS ANGELES — An aspiring actor pleaded guilty Monday to running a massive Ponzi scheme that raised at least $650 million from investors in phony Hollywood film licensing deals.
Zachary Joseph Horwitz, 34, of Los Angeles, entered a plea to a federal charge of securities fraud and could face up to 20 years in prison when he’s sentenced in January, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney’s office.
Instead, Horwitz used some of the money to repay earlier investors in a classic Ponzi scheme and to support a lifestyle that included buying a $6 million home, prosecutors said.
More than 200 investors, including three of Horwitz’s closest college friends and their family members, lost about $230 million, authorities said.
Horwitz had appeared in a number of movies, usually in small roles, under the name Zach Avery.