Ezri Namvar was born circa 1952 in Iran. His father, Eilel Namvar, was a Jewish real estate speculator and moneylender whose assets were confiscated during the Iranian Revolution. According to the Los Angeles Times Eilel Namvar "had been a deeply respected money lender in Iran". He has four brothers, Sean, Mousa, Tony and Ramin.
Namvar graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Namvar was the founder and chairman of Namco Capital Group, an asset management firm. The company was headquartered on the 14th floor of the Wilshire Bundy Plaza, an office tower on the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Bundy Drive in Brentwood owned by Namvar. He was also the owner of the Security Pacific Bank, a bank in Downtown Los Angeles. Additionally, he acquired the Marriott Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles, the Hotel Angeleno in Westwood, and the Cal Neva Lodge & Casino near Lake Tahoe. He was the owner of "more than 150 residential and office buildings in California, New York, Nevada, and Arizona." He also invested in "apartment buildings, vacant land in rural areas, an equestrian center and a pistachio farm."
In the wake of the financial crisis of 2007–08, he was sued by his investors and forced to declare bankruptcy by December 2008. A month later, in November 2008, his Security Pacific Bank was rescued by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. His bankruptcy led to "$1 billion in claims" from investors. Most of his customers were Persian Jews, many of whom attended the Nessah Synagogue in Beverly Hills. As a result, he became known as the "Bernie Madoff of Beverly Hills." In October 2011, he received a seven-year prison sentence "for stealing approximately $21 million from four clients."
Iranian-born American actor David Diaan wrote a play about Namvar's downfall entitled Death: A Very Serious Comedy.