Scams and shams — August 2016

Alanis Morissette is suing her former business manager for allegedly stealing nearly $5 million from her savings, while a former pro basketballer has been charged with embezzling thousands from his own charity foundation.

HAND IN HER POCKET

Alanis Morissette sues former accountant

Grammy-award-winning rocker Alanis Morissette claims her former business manager stole more than US$4.7 million from her savings between 2010 and 2014, and spent the money on vacations and gambling debts. The Canadian-born singer filed lawsuits against Jonathan Schwartz and the Los Angeles-based firm where he was a partner, GSO Business Management. GSO has since suspended the accountant, whose other clients included Beyoncé and Mariah Carey, and has launched its own suit against him. Morissette says she found out about Schwartz’s alleged theft after she hired a new accountant earlier this year.

CHARITY SCAM

Ex-NBA player indicted

Kermit Washington

Retired pro basketballer Kermit Washington, 64, is charged with embezzling US$200,000 from the charity he founded, Project Contact Africa. From 2010 to 2015, Washington solicited donations — including from other athletes — intended for a clinic in Africa, but diverted the funds for his own use, US federal prosecutors say. The former NBA forward played for several teams in the 1970s and 1980s, including the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, San Diego Clippers and Portland Trail Blazers.

CITIZEN HERO

Man caught with 200 bogus credit cards

An observant Royal Bank customer in Hamilton led police to nab an alleged fraudster. The patron alerted police after seeing a man using blank credit cards to make repeated withdrawals from the bank’s ATM. Further investigation revealed that Glib Belyakov, 20, of Stoney Creek, Ont., was in possession of more than 200 fraudulent credit cards and $15,000 in cash. The cards appear to be from financial institutions across the US. Belyakov is charged with fraudulent use of a credit card, possession of proceeds of crime and fraud over $5,000.

FINANCIAL PHONY

Fake accountant bilked BC company out of $400,000

First, he lied on his resumé and falsified his accounting credentials. Then, once he was hired by North Vancouver property rental company Unique Accommodations, Arthur Tat-Yue Wong used his trusted status as a supposed CGA to defraud the business over and over again — even while it was forced to lay off staff and close its Squamish, BC, office, the North Shore News reports. Between 2007 and 2010, Wong wrote about 75 cheques to himself to cover “expenses” and personal credit card bills, leased a Porsche and rented a storage locker in the company’s name, and faked letters of employment and T4 statements to qualify for a mortgage on a $775,000 Burnaby, BC, home and $200,000 line of credit. Wong pleaded guilty to the fraud and has repaid about half the funds he stole. At press time, he was awaiting sentencing; prosecutors are asking for a prison term of two to three years.