Not everyone can be like Rian Johnson and Daniel Craig, who reportedly could profit up to $100 million each in their deal with Netflix for two Knives Out sequels, but maybe you could just tell people you did. According to the FBI and SEC, that’s what Zachary Horwitz allegedly did, as part of a Ponzi scheme that the SEC claims raised over $690 million.
Described as a small-time actor by the LA Times and listed as Zach Avery on his IMDB profile, Horwitz apparently told investors that his company 1inMM (one in a million) was involved in buying film rights and reselling them to HBO and Netflix. However, representatives for both companies told the FBI they have no business relationship with 1nMM, and the FBI says that licensing and distribution agreements shown to investors were fake, complete with forged signatures. He claimed their investments were safe, and according to the affidavit filed by the FBI he told investors “we receive confirmation from each of our outputs indicating their desire to acquire the rights to any title we purchase PRIOR to us releasing funds for the film.”
With those forged documents, they allege Horwitz started receiving funds in 2015, eventually using victim’s money to repay earlier investors and buy himself a $6 million house. The SEC says it has charged Horwitz and 1nMM with violating antifraud laws, while freezing his assets. The FBI announced Horwitz’s arrest, citing $227 million investors transferred to the company since late 2018 that Horwitz has allegedly defaulted on and charging him with wire fraud, which carries a maximum penalty of up to 20 years in jail. According to the LA Times, he was released on a $1 million secured bond.
On the plus side, once this is all over, Horwitz might have a story Netflix is interested in buying after it releases the Anna Delvey / Anna Sorokin documentary.