Isn’t it moronic: Morissette manager sad over ‘stupid’ theft

Isn't it moronic: Morissette manager sad over 'stupid' theft

LOS ANGELES — Alanis Morissette’s meteoric rise to fame put her in need of someone who could wisely invest her fortune for her future.

She thought she found that person in Jonathan Todd Schwartz, a money manager to the stars, who earned her trust and assured her that her nest egg was secure and growing.

But even as she was repaying the favour by singing her hits at a benefit for a charity Schwartz founded, he was pocketing royalties from her hit 1995 record “Jagged Little Pill” and other albums.

Schwartz was sentenced Wednesday to six years in federal prison for embezzling more than $7 million from Morissette and others after the singer made a pitch for a lengthy and severe sentence saying he stole more than her money — he stole her dreams.

“He did this in a long, systematic, drawn-out and sinister manner,” Morissette said, adding it would have bankrupted her within three years had the thefts continued.

Schwartz, 47, who blamed his gambling addiction for the thefts, wept and apologized at the hearing, saying he took full responsibility for his “stupid” behaviour and would live in shame because of it.

“I will spend the rest of my life asking for forgiveness,” he said in seeking less than a year in prison.

Prosecutors sought just over five years in prison, but U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee said she thought Schwartz deserved more time for the “sheer audaciousness of this conduct.”

Gee noted that she has criticized federal sentencing guidelines as draconian, but said they weren’t harsh enough in this case. Schwartz’s gambling addiction may explain the wire fraud and tax crimes, but didn’t excuse them, she said. She ordered him to pay $8.6 million in restitution.

Schwartz admitted stealing nearly $5 million from Morissette between May 2010 and January 2014 and more than $2 million from five unnamed clients when he worked at GSO Business Management, a firm that touted relationships with entertainers such as Katy Perry, 50 Cent and Tom Petty.

Schwartz was a high-flying partner making $1.2 million a year, according to court papers. The thefts struck a blow to the firm’s reputation that led to nearly a dozen layoffs and is expected to cost it $20 million, according to founder Bernard Gudvi.

The embezzlement was discovered by a new money manager Morissette hired after she couldn’t get a straight answer from Schwartz about her investments.

“It was at this time, I realized he also stole my dreams,” said Morissette, dressed in a black blazer, black pants and with her hair dyed blond.

When GSO was contacted about the apparent theft, Schwartz made “wild accusations” Morissette was a drug addict and mentally unstable, Gudvi said. Schwartz also falsely claimed Morissette had invested the money in an illegal marijuana growing business.

“As the walls were closing in on the scheme to steal client funds … he was unable to turn away from the lies,” Gudvi wrote to the court.

The thefts financed “a lavish and luxurious lifestyle even beyond the means of the people he was stealing from,” Morissette said. “He had us all fooled.”

Schwartz, who was fired, had offered financial guidance to some of the biggest stars and was said to represent Beyonce and Mariah Carey, who both appeared at a fundraiser last year in support of a heart disease charity he founded.

Schwartz penned a mea culpa in The Hollywood Reporter recently, saying his crimes ruined his family and career. He said his father was a gambling addict who abandoned his family and he sought refuge in sports betting and drugs to deal with the stress from his business.

“If I lost, then I had to make it back and when I lost again, the hole I had dug got deeper and deeper,” he wrote. “I felt weak and powerless, terrified by my internal demons that I was turning into my father.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Ranee Katzenstein disputed that Schwartz was a gambling addict or that he had come clean when he was caught.

Schwartz “did not ‘reveal, reform, and rehabilitate’ as soon as his crimes were discovered; he lied, blamed others,” Katzenstein wrote. “He did not acknowledge that he’d committed a crime until after the government had put together its case and he had no other choice.”

Brian Melley, The Associated Press

Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Traffic was tied up at the intersection of Scott and Old Yale Roads in North Surrey on Tuesday afternoon, after a semi truck hauling a load of pipes flipped while making a turn. (Shane MacKichan photos)
VIDEO: Semi hauling load of pipes flips in North Surrey intersection

Traffic near Scott and Old Yale Roads tied up by Tuesday afternoon incident

Sheila Malcolmson, B.C.’s minister of mental health and addictions (Screen shot)
Minister of mental health tells Surrey audience COVID-19 ‘has made everything worse’

More than 23,000 people in B.C. are receiving medication to treat opioid addiction

Farmers raise slogans during a protest on a highway at the Delhi-Haryana state border, India, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. Tens of thousands of farmers descended upon the borders of New Delhi to protest new farming laws that they say will open them to corporate exploitation. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Manish Swarup
Delta council stands in solidarity with protesting Indian farmers

Farmers have been protesting for months new laws they say leave them open to corporate exploitation

Shana Harris-Morris was killed Feb. 4. (GoFundMe photo)
IHIT says 22-year-old killed in Surrey shooting was ‘unintended victim’

Shana Harris’ family makes appeal for more information

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media file)
Man charged after pushing pregnant woman to the ground in Surrey, police say

Surrey RCMP say it appeared to be an ‘unprovoked assault’

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has restricted indoor dining at all restaurants in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 indoor dining, drinking ban extending into May

Restaurant association says patio rules to be clarified

In a 2019 photograph, Yin Yin Din held a picture of her brother Kyaw Naing Din, 54, and her late father Hla Din who passed away in 2014, during a trip to Victoria. (The News files)
Family of B.C. man killed by cop appeals to Attorney General for help

The Din family want B.C. Attorney General David Eby to forward their case to Crown

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
Tougher COVID-19 restrictions in B.C., including travel, still ‘on the table’: Horgan

John Horgan says travel restrictions will be discussed Wednesday by the provincial cabinet

Protesters occupied a road leading to Fairy Creek Watershed near Port Renfrew. (Submitted photo)
B.C. First Nation says logging activist interference not welcome at Fairy Creek

Vancouver Island’s Pacheedaht concerned about increasing polarization over forestry activities

Flow Academy is not accepting membership applications from anybody who has received a dose of the vaccine, according to a password-protected membership application form. (Submitted image)
B.C. martial arts gym refusing patrons who have been vaccinated, wear masks

Interior Health has already issued a ticket to Flow Academy for non-compliance with public health orders

Of 46 arrests made between March 16 and 19 at Metrotown mall in Burnaby, 27 suspected shoplifters are now facing charges. (Twitter/Burnaby RCMP)
RCMP arrest 46 people in 4 days during Metrotown shoplifting crackdown

$4,800 in stolen merchandise was recovered and returned to businesses inside of the mall

Maple Ridge's Doug Ubell caught some photographs recently that he was anxious to share, one taken while on the Trans-Canada Trail looking southwest towards the Pitt River Bridge, and another from on Golden Ears Bridge. (Special to The News)
Traffic on Golden Ears Bridge returning to pre-pandemic levels

Commuters from Greater Vancouver still driving more, taking transit less

Kao Macaulay has been charged in relation to a home break-in on March 30 in Abbotsford in which five kittens were stolen. (Facebook photo)
‘Prolific offender’ charged with theft of 5 newborn kittens in Abbotsford

Kao Macaulay, 23, is accused of breaking into home on March 30

Facebook screenshot of the sea lion on Holberg Road. (Greg Clarke Facebook video)
VIDEO: Sea lion randomly spotted on remote B.C. logging road

Greg Clarke was driving home on the Holberg Road April 12, when he saw a large sea lion.

Most Read