Federal jury convicts former Olympic speedskater of pandemic loan fraud in Utah
Jun 30, 2023, 4:30 PM
(Matthew Stockman /Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY — A federal jury found a former Olympic speed skater guilty of fraud Thursday, ruling that the Taylorsville woman gave false information to banks in order to receive a fraudulent $10 million small business loan from government pandemic relief funding.
Allison Marie Baver, 42, a retired Olympic short track speed skater who was on a team that won a bronze medal in the 2010 Olympic Games, was found guilty of two counts of making false statements to influence a bank, one count of money laundering and one count of contempt on Thursday.
Baver, whose website also describes her as an actress and a model, started a media company in October 2019. Less than a year later, she submitted eight fraudulent applications for the Paycheck Protection Program for her small company, Allison Baver Entertainment, according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Justice.
Baver’s loan applications said she had 430 employees and an average payroll each month of up to $4,770,583 — but a statement from the department said she had no employees and no monthly average payroll.
Each loan application asked for $10 million in funding and was sent to a different bank, the statement said.
Meridian Bank funded the requested $10 million, and Baver invested $150,000 of the money into a movie. Charging documents said this film is called “No Man of God” and is about Ted Bundy; Baver plays a role in the film that was released in 2021, according to IMDB.
This loan Baver received is one of the largest given through the Paycheck Protection Program program in Utah; four other companies received the same amount. The program was designed to help small businesses continue paying their employees during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act was signed in March 2020. A recent report from the U.S. Small Business Administration’s watchdog Office of the Inspector General estimates there has been as much as $200 billion in pandemic relief fraud.
Baver was charged in December 2021 with one count of money laundering and eight counts of making false statements to a bank.
The fraud was investigated by the FBI’s Salt Lake City field office, the Small Business Administration Office of the Inspector General, and the IRS Criminal Investigations Division.
Baver is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 30 at the federal courthouse in Salt Lake City.