Alana Morissette’s former business manager, Jonathan Schwartz, was sentenced by a federal judge on May 3 to six years in prison and ordered to pay $8,657,268 in restitution for his crimes against the rock singer. Schwartz worked for GSO Business Management, a prominent Los Angeles firm.
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Morissette attended the sentencing hearing and said that Schwartz misled her about her finances, acting in a “long, drawn-out, calculated, and sinister manner.” He shattered her dreams of being able to focus on her family and causes.
In court, 47-year-old Schwartz wept openly at his sentencing, and admitted that he had “lied openly” to people who “mattered most” to him.
“I alone am responsible for the devastation I have caused. Regardless of how long I spend in prison, I will serve a lifetime sentence of shame. I will spend the rest of my life asking for forgiveness.”
The Washington Post reported that GSO Business Management, the company Schwartz worked for, boasts many famous clients like Tom Petty, 50 Cent, and Sophie Coppola. Schwartz was found guilty of filing a false tax return and wire fraud, and admitted to stealing almost $5 million from Morissette and $1.7 million from two other clients.
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Even though Schwartz could have been sentenced to more than 20 years in prison, the sentence imposed was relatively light. In her victim impact statement, Morissette requested that Schwartz be harshly punished. Because of Schwartz, Morissette said she could have been bankrupted within three years.
“I’d go on tours he recommended and they would lose money, but he’d still urge me to spend. Spend. Spend. He was creating an alibi from the start. He not only stole $5 million in cash from me, he stole a dream.”
In an open letter to the Hollywood Reporter last month, Schwartz said his crimes began with drug use and a gambling addiction, which he’s battled since college. He’s now part of Gambler’s Anonymous.
Assistant U.S. attorney Ranee Katzenstein doubted his “self-improvement” and shows of remorse.
“Every expression of remorse he has made and every purported act of self-improvement he has taken occurred only after he realized he had no ‘choice’ to do otherwise.”
Rappler reported that Schwartz stole $4.8 million from Alanis Morissette between 2010 and 2014, saying the withdrawals were the singer’s personal expenses, all the while telling Morissette she was in solid financial shape.
Deirdre Fike is the assistant director of the FBI’s Los Angeles field office, and she has vowed to keep investigating such crimes.
“Schwartz used his clients’ funds as a personal ATM machine. Individuals have a right to feel secure when placing their trust, as well as large sums of money, with financial managers.”
Alanis Morissette became famous at a very young age. She was only 21-years-old when her 1995 album Jagged Little Pill won the Grammy for Album of the Year. At that time, she was the youngest artist ever to win the prestigious award.
The popular Canadian-born singer is the voice behind 1990s rock anthems like “Hand in My Pocket,” “You Oughta Know,” and “You Learn.”
Alanis Morissette – Jagged Little Pill
Best Track? pic.twitter.com/7z1lNTxLpi
— Crisco Loch Ness (@MichaelRees84) May 3, 2017
Morissette’s case is reminiscent of the late Leonard Cohen, another Canadian artist in Los Angeles, who, just a decade earlier, realized that his former manager had stolen $5 million from him. This theft forced the poet and singer to emerge from semi-retirement.
JD Journal reported that Schwartz withdrew cash from Morissette’s account to fund his lavish lifestyle, and he labeled those withdrawals as the singer’s “personal expenses.”
— Alanis Morissette (@Alanis) May 7, 2017
Schwartz once managed other artists such as Mariah Carey and Beyoncé, and he appeared to be good at his job at the beginning. However, over time, he started to feed his gambling addiction and kept Morissette in the dark about her finances.
Now, Alanis Morissette is left to pick up the pieces of her life, including learning how to trust again.
Benard Gudvi was Schwartz’s former partner. When speaking to the Hollywood Reporter, he condemned Schwartz, saying that his actions were no different to robbing a bank.
“It’s important for our industry to know you can’t take money out of people’s accounts.”
In court, Schwartz was represented by attorney Nathan Hochman, who requested one year of jail followed by one year of house arrest and 2,000 hours of community service.
Before his sentencing, Schwartz wrote an open letter explaining his gambling addiction and promising to make amends. However, Assistant U.S. Attorney Renee Katzenstein wasn’t buying the gambling addiction excuse.
Katzenstein described Schwartz as “sophisticated and highly intelligent,” and pointed out there was no proof that Schwartz had spent the stolen money on gambling. Prosecutors said Schwartz spent large amounts of money on maintaining a high-roller lifestyle, including taking a $50,000 vacation.
— CBC News (@CBCNews) May 4, 2017
Schwartz was sentenced to six years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. During those three years, he will be required to attend drug testing, therapy, and outpatient addiction treatment. And, perhaps most importantly, he is required to pay $8.6 million in restitution.
[Featured Image by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]