A now-former actor in California is making serious headlines after being convicted of conducting the largest Ponzi scheme in Hollywood history. The $650 million scam involves stolen retirement money, streaming services such as Netflix and HBO, and the eventual 20-year sentence of Zachary Horowitz.
This has not come without controversy, however, as Horowitz is cited as potentially suffering from mental health issues. If you are in need of legal assistance in a case similar to that of the Horowitz case, please reach out to a Los Angeles white-collar crime defense attorney today to learn about how you can be properly defended in a court of law.
A hotly debated incident has taken Los Angeles by storm in recent days according to a news article by the Los Angeles Times. Zachary Horowitz is reported to have reaped in over $650 million in falsified HBO and Netflix film deals since 2014. One of the reasons this story has been so significant is the massive price tag associated with it as it is now considered the largest Ponzi scheme to have occurred in Hollywood history.
The prosecuting team called Horowitz’s fraud scam “eerily similar to Charles Ponzi’s eponymous scheme.” They added that it would be “difficult to conceive a white-collar crime more egregious.” Horowitz started his scam by lying to some of his friends from Indiana University, eventually graduating to other people outside of his circle. His company, 1inMM Capital, used other people’s money to purchase the rights to foreign distribution of cheap movies and then resold them at a profit to streaming platforms around the world.
This was achieved by lying about the film rates and even forging a large number of distribution contracts across the course of the scheme. He promised to each investor a generous return within 6 to 12 months of the initial investment. He pled guilty to securities fraud.
The impact of Horowitz’s Ponzi scheme was brutal, however. Some of the victims were reportedly middle-class and elderly people who used their retirement And emergency savings expecting heavy returns. Many of the victims who spoke at the hearing recanted the lies that Horowitz pushed in addition to their own personal financial, emotional, and psychological troubles as a result of their losses.
Horowitz was ordered to pay $230 million in restitution to over 250 people. Horowitz admitted that he made misguided decisions as he was attempting to break into the business of film and media. Horowitz was previously a small-name actor, including in some of the films that he was swindling. One of the primary events that happened in the scheme pointed to by prosecutors was Horowitz’s large spending habits after making some of the money.
The defense pushed back against the blame game, however. The defense attorneys are quoted as saying that Horowitz had obvious signs of mental illness that may have contributed to his unrelenting nature when pushing for more money. While prosecutors point towards the previously mentioned egregious spending as evidence against mental illness, some believe that the lack of emotion displayed in this case, along with other factors, does in fact point to potential mental illness. The defending attorneys also raised concerns about Horowitz’s two children that he will be unable to raise during his 20-year sentence.
If you or a loved one has been convicted of a white-collar crime and believe that you will need help defending, call a Los Angeles white-collar crime defense attorney at Okabe and Haushalter today at 310-430-7799 for immediate assistance. You can alternatively write to us or message us by following this link where we will do our best to assist you.