“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 US$7 million from my clients and business partners over a six-year period and not paying tax on it.”
Schwartz, who pleaded guilty in LA in January to embezzling from clients including Alanis Morissette, has also worked with Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, 50 Cent, Tom Petty and Beyonce. He faces a sentence of between four and six years in prison.
In the essay, Schwartz admitted to a sports gambling addiction he’s carried since college, and a drug addiction he used to cope with the stress to “constantly meet my clients’ demands and constantly compete with others in the industry to be the best.”
“I lived a double life since no one other than my bookie knew I had this ‘dark” side,’ he wrote. “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.”
Schwartz ends his essay with a warning to others “in super stressful jobs where the demands feel overwhelming”:
“[…] seek help from those around them or treatment before it is too late,” he wrote. “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.”
Last year, Morissette sued Schwartz’s partners at his former company GSO Business Management when it was revealed that between May 2010 and January 2014, he stole her money, filing his cash withdrawals as “sundry/personal expenses.” Morissette later dropped the suit after reaching a settlement.
Following the essay’s publication Morissette sent THR a statement: “I would be apprehensive to believe any words that come out of Jonathan Schwartz’s mouth,” she said.