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For Alanis Morissette's former business manager, Jonathan Todd Schwartz, formerly of GSO Business Management, everything isn't gonna be fine fine fine. In an un-ironic twist, months ago Schwartz admitted to embezzling nearly $7 million from GSO clients, as well as covering up his thefts. Recently, a federal court judge sentenced Schwartz to 6 years behind bars as a result of his plea bargain.
In addition to the lengthy prison sentence, Schwartz has been ordered to pay restitution totaling nearly $9 million. The sentence is sure to provide Schwartz with a daily reminder of the mess he left when he went away.
What Is Embezzlement?
Embezzlement is a form of theft or stealing that requires a thief to actually have lawful access to the stolen property. The most common example involves a bank teller, or store cashier, that is provided access to cash during their shift. However, frequently, embezzlement involves more than just a cashier pocketing $20 or $2,000 out of the till, but will also involve steps taken to cover up the theft. Furthermore, embezzlement can happen at all levels within a company. Any employee, and even business partners, can embezzle.
In Alanis's case, her business manager had access to her bank accounts in order to pay bills on her behalf. However, Schwartz took nearly $5 million from Alanis for his own personal use and benefit over a period of years. Fortunately for Alanis, for some reason, she decided to hire a new manager, who discovered improprieties. From there, she filed a civil lawsuit against Schwartz and GSO. While her civil suit settled for an undisclosed amount, it led to authorities discovering Schwartz's crimes.
Penalties for Embezzlement
The criminal penalties for embezzlement will vary from state to state, as well as based upon the value and circumstances surrounding the theft. Generally, because embezzlement will also include elements of fraud or forgery, criminal charges can often be rather serious felonies and carry long prison terms. Additionally, a person convicted of embezzlement will usually be ordered to pay back or return any money taken, plus interest.