The Beach Boys' former business manager, convicted of embezzling $906,000 from the pioneer surf-rock group, has been sentenced to five years on probation and ordered to make $86,000 in restitution.
Superior Court Judge Gordon Ringer imposed the sentence on Stephen M. Love, 41, who pleaded no contest Oct. 18 to one count of grand theft.Love, a younger brother of Beach Boys lead singer Mike Love and a cousin of group members Brian Wilson and Carl Wilson, was the group's business manager for much of the 1970s before being fired.
Deputy District Attorney Steve Licker said that sometime after July 1982, Love withdrew $906,000 from a court-imposed trust account without the permission of the Beach Boys or a judge who was supervising it.
Licker said the funds Love took were proceeds from the sale of a parcel of land in Santa Barbara involving a partnership between himself and the group.
Several members of the Beach Boys who were contacted by a district attorney's investigator approved of Love's sentence and the amount of the restitution.
Love claimed in a written statement that he took the money as an act of "economic self-defense" when the Beach Boys fired him and after his brother Mike "conceived and orchestrated a group conspiracy to (financially) `bury Steve Love.' "
Love told reporters he was fired by the group because he was a strong advocate against the use of hard drugs.
"In my view, the Beach Boys . . . are all guilty of participating in a conspiracy to stiff me (because of Mike Love's) ongoing personal fraud against me," Love said. "Mike repeatedly boasted . . . that he had fired up the other Beach Boys against me."
Love said he is "estranged totally" from his brother Mike and that the two no longer communicate.
A spokesman for the group was not immediately available to respond to Love's statements.
The Beach Boys currently have their first No. 1 single in 22 years, "Kokomo."