‘Mea culpa or cop out into a letter rehab? ‘
‘Hollywood manager who stole $7million from celebrity clients pens groveling apology letter, after he is caught in several lies in the cover up’
After stealing millions of dollars from his clients, Jonathan Schwartz apologized in a letter in The Hollywood Reporter on Tuesday
Schwartz, 48, stole $4.8million from Alanis Morissette between 2009 and 2014
He took another $1.7million from others while acting as their business manager
In 2016, Morissette’s new manager discovered the theft and confronted him, they parties reached a confidential settlement in the ensuing $15m lawsuit
Charged with wire fraud and filing a false tax return for failure to report the embezzled funds to the IRS, he pled guilty to federal charges, Jan 18
He’s awaiting sentencing
In his letter, he told how he had been a gambling addict since he was in college
One time heavy hitter, Jonathan Schwartz, then considered one of the more trustworthy business managers in Hollywood
A Hollywood manager who embezzled $7million from clients which including singer Alanis Morissette has penned a groveling apology letter asking for their forgiveness.
Jonathan Schwartz, 48, was convicted of embezzlement in January after pleading guilty to stealing $4.8million from Morrisette and another $1.7million from other clients. He will be sentenced in May.
On Tuesday, The Hollywood Reporter published a letter by the disgraced L.A.-based manager which detailed his descent from career success and popularity to an out-of-control gambling addiction.
‘Since college I was a gambling addict….I lived a double life since no one other than my bookie knew I had this “dark” side,’ he wrote.
Jonathan Schwartz apologized in a letter on Tuesday for stealing $7million from clients including Alanis Morissette [photo], who lost almost $5m, while working as their business manager between 2010 and 2014
Schwartz served as Morissette’s manager between 2009 and 2016 during which time he had access to her accounts to collect revenue and pay bills on her behalf.
He was arrested in 2016 after being replaced by a new manager who spotted discrepancies among the star’s finances and alerted her.
Morissette sued the company he worked for, GSO Business Management, for $15million but the case was settled for an undisclosed amount. Schwartz admitted embezzlement in a criminal court in January.
In his letter on Tuesday, he told how he began by ‘borrowing’ small amounts from the star to feed his habit, naively hoping he would be able to pay her back.
‘At first, I “borrowed” a little from clients, with the hopes that I would pay them back if I won that night’s bet. That snowballed, and as I kept losing, I kept stealing.
‘I kept telling myself that I just needed one lucky break, and I’ll pay them back. That lucky break never came,’ he wrote.
While ‘ashamed’ of his behavior, Schwartz said he was thankful to have been caught because it forced him to seek help for his addiction.
Jonathan Schwartz personally managed New York Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie [photo]. Cromartie was invited him to stay at his manager’s home to learn how to live responsibly after he squandered $5million in his first two years in the NFL
‘To say I am incredibly ashamed and disappointed in myself is an understatement. I have hurt everyone I cared about, my family, clients, business partners, employees, peers and friends. I had a fiduciary responsibility to serve my clients, and I violated that trust.
‘I let everybody down, and for that I will spend the rest of my life asking for forgiveness and making amends to everyone I have hurt.
‘The road to recovery goes one day at a time, but I now have a much better and clearer understanding of what really matters and have devoted my life to getting there.
In her 2016 lawsuit, Morissette told how she entrusted Schwartz with her finances while he was her manager. She fired him in March of that year for ‘several reasons’ including his slow response to questions about her accounts.
When her new manager discovered he had been embezzling from her, she claimed Schwartz gave ‘preposterous’ cover-up stories to avoid being caught including one claim that Morissette signed off on the transfers and that they were investments in an illegal marijuana company.
her attorneys filed a civil suit that described Schawartz’s explanations as hogwash – ‘None of what Schwartz said was true. Morissette never considered investing in a marijuana grow business. The accusation is an out and out falsehood,’ the civil complaint states.
in a another comical twist the former manager tried to placate Morissette by telling her she and her grandchildren were ‘set for life’ in a bid to stop her from worrying about her finances.
‘Schwartz enthusiastically encouraged Morissette to spend money, often telling his client to “go big”. When she asked him if she was over budget, he would insist that things were “fine”, that she had “nothing to worry about” and that she and her future grandkids were “set for life”.
The company Schwartz worked for also counts Beyonce and Mariah Carey among clients. They are seen [photo L-R] at one of its charity fundraisers.
‘Over the years, Schwartz repeatedly encouraged Morissette to turn down various offers to perform at concerts, including a lucrative set of five shows in Las Vegas.
‘His reasoning was always that she didn’t need to work so hard because she was so financially secure.’
Schwartz’s profile on the GSO Business Management site, proudly proclaimed that at age 44 Schwartz is his firm’s youngest partner, who will go to extremes to help his clients:
It mentions that ‘he once invited NFL cornerback Antonio Cromartie, who had blown through $5 million in his first two seasons, to stay at his home for a couple of weeks for an experiential education in living responsibly,’ the statement reads. It also says that ‘retirement for Cromartie [a father-of-thirteen], is fully funded through age 100.’
‘I let everybody down’: Jonathan Schwartz’s apology letter
To My Community:
I am writing this open letter to you so that you can learn from my mistakes and never find yourself in the situation I am now in. I am a convicted felon who has fully accepted responsibility and pleaded guilty to federal charges related to my embezzling over $7 million from my clients and business partners over a six-year period and not paying tax on it.
I used to have it all — a great family, a job that I loved and high-profile clients that I represented, partners whom I respected and respected me, and a reputation in the community for hard work, excellent service, and commitment to charities that helped the less fortunate. I had never run afoul of the law before. Now I have lost it all and face going to prison for years. How did I end up throwing it all away?
The answer, in part, is that since college I was a gambling addict. I should have been more careful when I first started gambling socially because my father was a gambling addict who abandoned the family when I was young. Over the years, my gambling addiction grew, particularly as I became more successful. With that success came very high levels of stress to constantly meet my clients’ demands and constantly compete with others in the industry to be the best. I often turned to drugs to deal with the stress but mostly sought refuge in the world of sports gambling. The spiral I was in was toxic. Winning did not make me feel better but losing was intolerable. If I lost, then I had to make it back and when I lost again, the hole I had dug got deeper and deeper. I felt weak and powerless, terrified by my internal demons that I was turning into my father.
I lived a double life since no one other than my bookie knew I had this “dark” side. At first, I “borrowed” a little from clients, with the hopes that I would pay them back if I won that night’s bet. That snowballed, and as I kept losing, I kept stealing. I kept telling myself that I just needed one lucky break, and I’ll pay them back. That lucky break never came — thankfully. I say thankfully because when I was finally caught, a bright spotlight shined on my deplorable conduct. I could not hide any longer and hit rock bottom. By seeing how pathetic I had become, I finally got the courage to ask for help.
As a result of incredible friends and my sponsor, I am now 336 days sober after committing myself wholeheartedly to the Beit T’shuvah intensive outpatient program and the Gambler’s Anonymous program and meetings.
To say I am incredibly ashamed and disappointed in myself is an understatement. I have hurt everyone I cared about, my family, clients, business partners, employees, peers and friends. I had a fiduciary responsibility to serve my clients, and I violated that trust. I let everybody down, and for that I will spend the rest of my life asking for forgiveness and making amends to everyone I have hurt. The road to recovery goes one day at a time, but I now have a much better and clearer understanding of what really matters and have devoted my life to getting there.
Part of my amends include making sure that others who might be in my former situation, in super stressful jobs where the demands feel overwhelming, do not turn to drugs or gambling to deal with the stress or violate their responsibilities to others hoping no one will notice, but seek help from those around them or treatment before it is too late. Please use me as an example of what can go disastrously wrong when you start down the wrong path. Please, please follow a different path.
Most sincerely,Jonathan Schwartz
It is not known which other clients Schwartz stole from.
In the past he has also managed New York Jets cornerback, Antonio Cromartie, who he ironically invited to stay at his home for a crash course in responsible living after the athlete blew $5million.
In the past he’s boasted about chiding clients who tried to claim clothing on tax return: ‘It sounds silly, but it was a big area of abuse by artists and actors in the past.’
He gave the comments for an accompanying interview after being included in the 25 Most Powerful Business Managers of the year where he was described as being among the ‘most trusted’ experts in the industry.
GSO’s other clients have included Mariah Carey and Beyonce. They appeared at fundraising events thrown for heart disease charities which Schwartz was involved in planning.
When confronted about the theft, Schwartz lied and said he had invested the money in an illegal marijuana growing business, prosecutors said.
The disgraced former manager to the stars was charged with wire fraud and filing a false tax return for failing to report the embezzled funds to the IRS, prosecutors said. He entered a guilty plea to the federal charges on Jan. 18. Schwartz, who worked for GSO Business Management, also admitted to stealing $1.7 million from two other clients who were not named by the U.S. attorney’s office.
He admitted stealing nearly $5 million from Morissette between May 2010 and January 2014. He used the money personally and falsely listed the cash withdrawals as “sundry/personal expenses” to cover up the crime.
Morissette sued Schwartz last year in Los Angeles Superior Court, but they reached a confidential settlement.
He entered a guilty plea to the federal charges on Jan. 18. Schwartz, who worked for GSO Business Management, also admitted to stealing US$1.7 million from two other clients who were not named by the U.S. attorney’s office.
Reacting to his ‘Apology Letter’, Morissette in a statement said: “I would be apprehensive to believe any words that come out of Jonathan Schwartz’s mouth.”
Schwartz is set to be sentenced on May 3.