Having worked more white collar fraud cases than I can count, I'm always intrigued that new con men are able to convince people to part with hard earned money. The one common denominator that I've found is present in every one of these cases are the "friends and family" hook. The guy above, Zach Horowitz, also known as Zach Avery, used that hook to scam money from a variety of people under the guise that he was buying the rights to movies and then leasing those rights to HBO, Netflix, primarily, and other streaming services. Needless to say none of these services had ever heard of the guy which a little due diligence on the part of the victims could have figured that out early in the con. This guy ran a typical Ponzi scheme that caught up with him as all Ponzi schemes do.
What is a Ponzi scheme? The dictionary defines a Ponzi scheme as:
"a form of fraud in which belief in the success of a nonexistent enterprise is fostered by the payment of quick returns to the first investors from money invested by later investors".
Once Zach Horowitz got those first investors on board, all family and friends, promising returns of 42% after 9 months (a red flag if I've ever seen one), he would repay the initial investors with money coming in from new investors. I'm always bewildered that people think there are investments that pay 42%, or more, in a short period of time with no risk. In the end over $600 million was scammed in this Ponzi scheme with some $200 million still unaccounted for.
Don't think that schemes such as these are ongoing here in Colorado? Don't be too sure. In the last three weeks I've been introduced to individuals, who didn't know my background, pitching investments that are too good to be true and will, ultimately, lead to loss of investment funds. In both instances I gathered as much information as I could about the principles and shared with a local detective I know so that she could be on the lookout for potential victims.
If someone approaches you with an investment that just seems too good to be true, contact me or one of my investigators and let us conduct due diligence on your behalf.
EXCALIBUR Private Investigation