SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Former Olympic speed skater Allison Marie Baver has been charged with defrauding the government of millions of dollars in Paycheck Protection Program loans.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Utah says the 41-year-old obtained a total of $10 million in loans obtained through the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Baver has been charged with eight federal counts of making a false statement to a bank and one count of money laundering.
According to court documents, Baver is charged with making false statements on loan applications for a company she owns, Allison Baver Entertainment, LLC. During the period of April 13, 2020, to April 26, 2020, officials say Baver submitted eight different loan applications to Northeast Bank and Meridian Bank. In each application, Baver allegedly sought $10 million of PPP loan funding.
Court documents say Baver claimed her company’s monthly payroll averaged between $4,000,000 to $4,769,583 for 100 to 430 employees when in reality, Allison Baver Entertainment had no employees and no average monthly payroll. Baver was able to obtain $10 million in funding, which prosecutors say she transferred to a separate bank account and used a portion of to invest in the production of a film.
Best known as an Olympic speed skater, Baver won a bronze medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics in the women’s 3000m relay after competing in the 2002 and 2006 Olympics.
As the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the rise in PPP loan fraud spiked exponentially, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Fraud cases became so numerous that in May 2021, the Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to combat pandemic-related fraud.
Former NFL wide receiver Joshua Bellamy was recently sentenced to over three years in prison for fraudulently receiving a PPP loan of $1.2 million for his company, “Drip Entertainment” and spending the funds on luxury goods and at a casino.