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

On Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, the Township approved a rainbow crosswalk between the school district and RCMP buildings in Murrayville, but did not earmark funds for the project. (Langley Advance Times file)
Out On Patrol police group backs rainbow crosswalk in Langley

Urges supporters to donate to cover cost of $12,000 crossing near main RCMP detachment

Chris Wejr, principal of Aldergrove’s Shortreed Elementary, made U.S. senator Bernie Sanders a playground monitor (Twitter image)
Another Bernie Sanders meme, this time in Langley

Principal adds image of mitten-wearing U.S. senator to playground photo

Langley City hall (City of Langley image)
Langley City financial plan scales back SkyTrain preparations

If approved, the average homeowner taxes would go up by $154

Giants defenceman Bowen Byram has recorded his first NHL career point (Rob Wilton/special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Vancouver Giants Bowen Byram records first NHL career point with Colorado Avalanche

Player with Langley-based WHL franchise assisted on goal against the Ducks

Surrey Fire Service responded to a fire in the industrial area of 192nd street and 54th Avenue early Saturday morning (Jan. 23, 2021). (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Surrey crews respond to fire in industrial area

Fire happened early Saturday morning

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

sd
VIDEO: Mission drag racer scores 1st career win, sets world record, makes history in 2020

Justin Bond, founder and owner of JBS Equipment Mission, has break-out year

A 75-year-old aircraft has been languishing in a parking lot on the campus of the University of the Fraser Valley, but will soon be moved to the B.C. Aviation Museum. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vintage military aircraft moving from Chilliwack to new home at B.C. Aviation Museum

The challenging move to Vancouver Island will be documented by Discovery Channel film crews

A video posted to social media by Chilliwack resident Rob Iezzi shows a teenager getting kicked in the face after being approached by three suspects on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (YouTube/Rob i)
VIDEO: Security cameras capture ‘just one more assault’ near B.C. high school

Third high-school related assault captured by Chilliwack resident’s cameras since beginning of 2021

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2017, file photo, Oklahoma State Rep. Justin Humphrey prepares to speak at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City. A mythical, ape-like creature that has captured the imagination of adventurers for decades has now become the target of Rep. Justin Humphrey. Humphrey, a Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season, He says issuing a state hunting license and tag could help boost tourism. (Steve Gooch/The Oklahoman via AP, File)
Oklahoma lawmaker proposes ‘Bigfoot’ hunting season

A Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season

Economic Development and Official Languages Minister Melanie Joly responds to a question in the House of Commons Monday November 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Federal minister touts need for new B.C. economic development agency

Last December’s federal economic update promised a stimulus package of about $100 billion this year

FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2017, file photo, Larry King attends the 45th International Emmy Awards at the New York Hilton, in New York. Former CNN talk show host King has been hospitalized with COVID-19 for more than a week, the news channel reported Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021. CNN reported the 87-year-old King contracted the coronavirus and was undergoing treatment at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)
Larry King, broadcasting giant for half-century, dies at 87

King conducted an estimated 50,000 on-air interviews

Kimberly Proctor, 18, was murdered in 2010. Her family has spent many of the years since pushing for a law in her honour, that they say would help to prevent similar tragedies. (Courtesy of Jo-Anne Landolt)
Proposed law honouring murdered B.C. teen at a standstill, lacks government support

Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions has concerns with involuntary detainment portion of act

Most Read