Business manager admits to embezzling $4.8 million from singer Alanis Morissette, document shows

A business manager for singer Alanis Morissette has admitted that he embezzled millions of dollars from the musician, then told her that he’d used the money to invest in marijuana grows, according to a federal court document filed Wednesday.

Jonathan Todd Schwartz, 48, of Playa Vista, admitted in the federal plea agreement that he committed wire fraud and filed false tax returns from 2010 to 2014, during which he stole an estimated $4.8 million from Morissette and an additional $1.7 million from other athletes and celebrities.

The names of the others involved were not listed in the court filing.

Schwartz, who worked for Sherman Oaks-based GSO Business Management, handled Morissette’s money. Prosecutors said he stole millions of dollars from her through more than 100 bank transfers and withdrawals. Sometimes he falsified his client’s signature to withdraw cash, and other times he misrepresented what the money was being used for in company billings, according to the court documents.

In one incident, Schwartz tried to hide his crime by suggesting he’d committed a different one altogether.

“When confronted about the missing funds, defendant falsely stated that the money was an ‘investment’ in illegal marijuana ‘grow’ businesses and that he and other GSO employees, none of whom defendant could identify, had delivered the cash to people, also unidentified, associated with the marijuana businesses,” the plea agreement said.

Schwartz is scheduled to make a sentencing appearance Feb. 1. Under the plea deal, Schwartz and prosecutors have agreed that he be sentenced to between four and six years in prison and ordered to pay $8.2 million in restitution.

His sentence is ultimately in the hands of a federal judge.

“Mr. Schwartz was hired to protect his clients’ money by managing it professionally, but instead misappropriated millions to enrich himself,” Deirdre Fike, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles office, said in a statement.

Schwartz was suspended by GSO in May and sued to be legally removed from the company, said Chris Reeder, an attorney representing GSO in the case.

“Never in our 38 years has anything like this happened at GSO,” Reeder said of Schwartz’s alleged crimes.

Representatives for Morissette were not immediately available to comment.

joseph.serna@latimes.com

For breaking California news, follow @JosephSerna on Twitter.

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UPDATES:

5:20 p.m.: This article was updated with a comment from a GSO attorney.

This article was originally published at 4:30 p.m.

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