SEC Obtains Emergency Asset Freeze, Charges Actor with Operating a $690 Million Ponzi Scheme
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that it obtained an asset freeze and other emergency relief in an emergency enforcement action against Los Angeles-based actor Zachary Horwitz and his company, 1inMM (one in a million) Capital, LLC in connection with an alleged Ponzi scheme that raised over $690 million. Horwitz and 1inMM allegedly told investors that they were buying film rights, purportedly to resell them to Netflix and HBO; in fact, 1inMM actually had no business relationship with either company.
According to the SEC’s complaint, Horwitz falsely claimed to have a track record of successfully selling movie rights to Netflix and HBO when, in fact, neither Horwitz nor 1inMM had ever sold any movie rights to, or done any business with, HBO or Netflix. Horwitz allegedly showed investors fabricated agreements and emails regarding the purported deals with HBO and Netflix. The complaint alleges that Horwitz and 1inMM promised investors returns in excess of 35%, and for many years paid supposed returns on earlier investments using funds from new investments. The complaint further alleges that Horwitz misappropriated investor funds for his personal use, including the purchase of his multi-million dollar home, trips to Las Vegas, and to pay a celebrity interior designer.
“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,” said Michele Wein Layne, Director of the SEC’s Los Angeles Regional Office. “We obtained an asset freeze on an emergency basis to secure for the benefit of investors what remains of the money raised by Horwitz.”
The SEC’s complaint charges Horwitz and 1inMM with violating the antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws. In addition to the asset freeze and other emergency relief granted by the Court, the complaint also seeks a permanent injunction, disgorgement, prejudgment interest, and civil penalties against Horwitz and 1inMM. The Court set a hearing for April 19, 2021, to determine if the asset freeze should remain in force for the duration of the litigation.
The SEC’s investigation was conducted by Lance Jasper and Lorraine Pearson and supervised by Spencer Bendell. The SEC’s litigation will be led by Kathryn Wanner and supervised by Amy Longo. The SEC acknowledges the assistance of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.