LOS ANGELES (AFP) - The former business manager of Alanis Morissette was sentenced to six years in prison after he admitted stealing millions from the rock singer by misleading her about her finances.
Jonathan Schwartz, who had worked for prominent Los Angeles-area firm GSO Business Management, was also ordered to pay US$8,657,268 (S$12.1 million) in restitution, according to a federal judge's sentence announced late on Wednesday (May 3).
Morissette, attending the sentencing hearing, said Schwartz acted in a "long, drawn-out, calculated and sinister manner," and shattered her dreams of being able to focus on her family and causes.
Schwartz admitted that he stole US$4.8 million from Morissette between 2010 and 2014, classifying the withdrawals as the singer's personal expenses and telling her she was in solid financial shape.
When confronted, Schwartz acknowledged that he lied by telling Morissette that he was investing her money in the nascent marijuana business.
Schwartz, a certified public accountant, also admitted stealing US$1 million from another client in the guise of home renovations, as well as US$737,500 from another customer whose signature he forged on receipts.
Deirdre Fike, the assistant director of the FBI's Los Angeles field office, said Schwartz "used his clients' funds as a personal ATM machine" and vowed that the bureau would keep investigating such crimes.
"Individuals have a right to feel secure when placing their trust, as well as large sums of money, with financial managers," she said in a statement.
Morissette won fame at an early age. When her 1995 album Jagged Little Pill won the Grammy for Album of the Year, she was 21 and the youngest artist ever to win the prestigious award, a record later broken by Taylor Swift.
The Canadian-born singer is the voice behind energetic rock anthems that became some of the best-known hits of the 1990s including You Oughta Know, Hand In My Pocket and Ironic.
Morissette's case had echoes of the saga of another Canadian artist in Los Angeles - the late Leonard Cohen, who a decade earlier discovered that a former manager had stolen US$5 million from him, obliging the singer and poet to emerge from semi-retirement.