Hollywood Actor Zach Avery Jailed for 20 Years in $650 Million Fake Movie Deals
06:35 GMT 15.02.2022 (Updated: 20:40 GMT 19.10.2022)
In October 2021, actor Zachary Horwitz, professionally known as Zach Avery, admitted to having forged HBO and Netflix film distribution contracts to con investors into giving him $650 million.
American actor Zach Avery, who swindled $650 million in a huge Hollywood Ponzi scheme and used the money to lead a lavish lifestyle, was jailed on Monday for 20 years. He was also ordered to pay $230 million in restitution to more than 250 victims.
Since 2014, Avery had been duping investors, including his university friends, by creating a fake contract to buy foreign distribution rights to cheap movies and reselling them at a profit to HBO, Netflix, and other streaming platforms.
The 35-year-old actor issued a note to each victim, promising them a handsome profit and repayment of the money within six months or a year.
Yet, when the Ponzi scheme was busted last year, Zachary pleaded guilty and confessed that he had never actually bought any film rights and forged hundreds of distribution contracts.
Calling it a crime of "staggering magnitude", prosecutors said in court that Zach used the money to buy a $5.7 million Beverlywood mansion in Los Angeles and $706,000 on interior decorating.
He also spent $605,000 on Mercedes Benz and Audi cars, $345,000 on private jet and yacht trips, $174,000 on Los Angeles party consultant services, $136,000 on Las Vegas casinos, and nightclubs, and $6.9 million in credit card payments to American Express.
According to a report published in the Los Angeles Times, the 35-year-old actor confessed to his crime and told US District Judge Mark C. Scarsi that he made "misguided, awful decisions" as he tried to break into the movie business and was sorry for the "immense pain and hardship" he caused.
His attorneys told the judge that Horwitz was "not mentally well" and should not have to miss his two toddler sons growing up.
Victim statements cited by prosecutors demanded the maximum punishment allowable under the law for Zachary and also called him "a thief with no sense of morality or humanity".