A real-life story that can be a plot of a crime thriller where Netflix and HBO helped the FBI to bring to justice a scammer who scammed investors out of hundreds of millions of dollars.
Zachary Horwitz, who used the screen name “Zach Avery” was taken into custody by the FBI a few days ago, on charges of allegedly scamming people for more than $227 million. The people who were scammed thought they were going to cash in with licensing rights to films by WarnerMedia-owned cabler and the streamer in Latin America.
An affidavit from FBI Special Agent John Verrastoro declared “In reality, neither HORWITZ nor 1inMM Capital ever engaged in email correspondence with Netflix or HBO, nor did HORWITZ or 1inMM Capital ever have any business relationship with Netflix or HBO at all”.
As fake as the promises may be, Zachary Horwitz was successfully running the scam for several years, with limited questions asked by greedy investors as they were getting enough money. Although in 2019, his production company didn’t follow up on its initial notes, which stated “time-causing audits” and “corporate restructuring” at Netflix and HBO, which obviously wasn’t true.
Both Netflix’s Director of Content Litigation “Melinda LeMoine” and WarnerMedia’s Senior Litigation Administrator “Patrick Younan” were a part of shutting down Zachary Horwitz’s fake company. Both of them denied a collaboration between 1inMM and Netflix and HBO. They also confirmed that any email regarding the topic was forged.
To support his claims, Horwitz repeatedly sent emails in which he forwarded made up email conversations with the employees at Netflix and HBO. To find out the whole situation gets sorted out quickly, both Melinda LeMoine and Patrick Younan made important steps. Both the executives have signed a declaration to the FBI, which stated that neither they nor their organization had any relationship with Horwitz or 1inMM.
Horwitz promised financial investors a 35% return on their investments by claiming that his production company had licensing agreements with Netflix and HBO.
As it was cleared by Netflix and WarnerMedia Executives, these relationships never existed and he scammed investors out of $227m in the last 3 years. Using this money, Horwitz allegedly built his sprawling home, which contained a cinema, a gym, and a wine cellar. According to court documents, he also used more than $137,000 on private jets and paid $700,000 to a celebrity interior designer.
The case is currently under proceedings, and Zachary Horwitz may face up to 20 years of imprisonment if deemed guilty.
How DIRO Can Help Organizations Reduce Fraud & Scams?
With user permission, DIRO helps companies get instant access to consumer information held by any third-party website with global coverage. Further, DIRO can authenticate documents such as bank statements, utility statements, proof of employment, proof of income, tax returns, company registrations, proof of assets, directly from its original web source.
In this specific case of the Netflix and HBO scam, investors need to know the difference between authentic and fabricated bank statements. DIRO’s document verification technology allows you to check and verify bank statements with automated user consent using a secure virtual browser.
If an organization can verify documents right from the beginning of a relationship, they can reduce the risk of being scammed by at least 20%.