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Hollywood actor arrested over $690 million scam scheme

An aspiring Hollywood actor has been accused of scamming millions from film investors by tricking them with fake Netflix deals to fund a lavish lifestyle.

Zachary Horwitz, 34, was arrested on Tuesday by FBI agents on suspicion of running a $690m (£502m) Ponzi scheme.

Mr Horwitz, whose stage name is Zach Avery, allegedly raised funds from investors for film licensing deals with Netflix and HBO that did not exist.

He was charged with wire fraud.

If convicted, he could be jailed for up to 20 years.

The criminal complaint was filed by prosecutors and the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Monday.

It accuses Mr Horwitz of using investor funds for "lavish personal spending", including extravagant trips to Las Vegas, flights on chartered jets, payments for high-end cars and the purchase of a $5.7m mansion in Los Angeles.

"We allege that Horwitz promised extremely high returns and made them seem plausible by invoking the names of two well-known entertainment companies and fabricating documents," Michele Wein Layne, a senior SEC official, said in a statement on Tuesday.

As an actor, Mr Horwitz has not had the most illustrious career in Hollywood. Other than an uncredited part in Fury - a 2014 American war film starring Brad Pitt - Mr Horwitz has mostly appeared in low-budget films with mediocre ratings.

A lawyer for Mr Horwitz, Anthony Pacheco, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the BBC.

BBC

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