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Celebrity money manager caught embezzling millions

Illinois residents who entrust their finances to managers expose themselves to risks of embezzlement. A high-profile federal case illustrates the millions of dollars that managers can shift into their own pockets. It involves the former manager for singer-songwriter Alanis Morissette, who alleged that he embezzled $4.8 million from her. Losses attributed to other clients placed the total funds embezzled by the man at over $6.5 million.

The business manager, who was a partner at a California firm, faced additional charges of wire fraud and filing a false tax return. According to a plea bargain agreement made with prosecutors, he admitted to taking money from clients and hiding his tracks with false records. He forged one client's signature to make cash withdrawals. While overseeing the accounts for another client's home renovations, he labeled his cash withdrawals to himself as costs for construction.

His failure to report his stolen funds on his tax return compounded his criminal charges. As a result, the defendant faces additional criminal charges and owes approximately $1.7 million in federal income taxes.

When authorities accuse a person of this type of fraud, an attorney familiar with accounting, tax law and criminal investigations could takes actions to form a defense strategy. An attorney could examine financial records and challenge any claims by the prosecution that cannot be clearly documented. Potentially, charges could be dropped if the evidence is not conclusive. Otherwise, an attorney might work toward negotiating a plea bargain for reduced charges and limited penalties.

Source: Deadline, "Manager Admits He Embezzled $4.8M From Alanis Morissette", David Robb, Jan. 18, 2017

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