When you hear about a Netflix Ponzi scheme you’d probably think of some kind of scam that has a group of people buying and selling fake streaming account access to the platform. I mean, what other scams could one possibly come up with Netflix that would bilk investors out of millions of dollars? Well, one former actor found a way and he could be going to jail for a long time. Now, according to Variety, it seems that Zachary Horwitz has been operating an elaborate scheme for quite some time around the streaming platform but was just busted this week. The details are pretty wild.
Apparently, Horwitz’s plan around the streaming service was somewhat “simple” though no less slimy. According to the US government’s charges against the former actor, he scammed investors out of considerable sums of money by convincing them they were putting dollars in a film rights play. Essentially, Horwitz was going after investors with the claim that his company, 1inMM Capital LLC, was actively pursuing of licensing agreements with Netflix and HBO to secure distribution channels for a number of different movies. Investor money was supposedly going to go to make sure the movies could eventually land on one of the streaming services, at which point the investors would get rich on the upside.
But apparently, according to the charges, Horwitz did no such thing. Instead, he took the investor dollars, paid back original investors who’d never seen any return (hence the Ponzi nature of the scam), and then rewarded himself with a mansion and other goods. In all, he’s accused of bilking more than $220 million in illegitimate funds. This was a massive operation that involved the forging of agreements from Netflix and various movies that were meant to appear as if rights had been secured. They hadn’t. In fact, representatives from the platforms and the movies themselves claim they had no actual dealings with Horwitz or his company.
For his illegal troubles with this Netflix scam, Horwotiz could be staring down a world of hurt if found guilty. The charges he’s facing carry with them a possible 20 year jail sentence and significant fines as well. Some of the movies Horwitz claimed have secured the Netflix distribution rights for included such classics as Bitter Harvest and Divide and Conquer. The goal in the scam apparently was to convince investors that his company had a lengthy history with these kinds of wheelings and dealing when it came to distribution rights, selling them on the upside of such business ventures. He’s a former actor, going by the name Zac Avery and was last seen in the movie The Devil Below.
Time will tell what ends up happening with Horwitz and how this Netflix scam plays out in court. Judging by the supposed evidence and sheer amount of money involved with the operation, this could end up being a very high-profile case. But it’s a good lesson for those thinking about starting some kind of Ponzi scheme: the time always runs out on these things and the downside is significant. Oh, and it’s not a great idea to steal people’s money either. So all kinds of negatives in this thing.