Entertainment & Arts

Alanis Morissette sues former manager for fraud

Alanis Morissette Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Canadian star shot to fame with her 1995 album Jagged Little Pill

Pop star Alanis Morissette says she was robbed of almost $5m (£3.5m) by her former business manager.

In papers filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, the singer claims Jonathan Schwartz transferred money to his own accounts without permission.

"Morissette was completely unaware of these cash transfers and had not authorised them," the complaint says.

The singer, whose hits include Ironic and You Oughta Know, is suing for breach of duty, fraud and negligence.

Schwartz handled Morissette's finances between 2009 and 2016. He was responsible for collecting income, managing investment accounts and paying bills on her behalf.

According to the complaint, she fired him in March after which her new business manager, Howard Grossman, uncovered the suspicious withdrawals - 116 in all - totalling more than $4.7m (£3.25m).

The legal papers claim that, after changing his explanation several times, Schwartz said the transfers were made to fund an "investment" in a marijuana-growing business for the singer, and to avoid extra trips to the bank because Morissette "spends a lot of cash". She denies both claims.

Morissette also claims Schwartz transferred $8m (£5.5m) out of investment accounts that he "promised would never be touched", despite her direction that she should live off her current income and interest.

"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'," states the complaint, which also claims Schwartz convinced the singer to turn down performance offers.

"His reasoning was always that she didn't need to work so hard, because she was so financially secure."

The star is suing Schwartz and his company GSO for $15m (£10m) in damages.

"When I fired Jonathan Schwartz and GSO two months ago, I had no idea the extent of the misconduct," Morissette said in a statement.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Morissette fired Schwartz two months ago for evading her request for information

Schwartz, who has not commented on the action, is also being sued by GSO, which is seeking to expel him as a member of the firm.

The company said it was "shocked" by the results of an internal investigation, which began after Grossman confronted Schwarz about Morissette's accounts.

"The investigation revealed that Mr Schwartz was burning through money to sustain a lavish lifestyle, including a $50,000 (£34,700) vacation to Bora Bora and an outstanding gambling dept of $75,000 (£52,000) at a casino in the Bahamas," states the GSO complaint. "He also owes the US government a substantial sum for unpaid taxes."

However, the firm disputed several points in Morissette's complaint, saying she sometimes requested large sums of cash, and that employees other than Schwartz had made her aware she was over budget on several occasions.

The company said it had severed Schwartz's business relationship with his clients, who are thought to include Beyonce and Mariah Carey.

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