SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – A former Olympic speed skater and Taylorsville woman, Allison Marie Baver, has been charged for defrauding the government through millions in loans.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Utah says the 41-year-old Baver obtained a total of $10 million in loans obtained through the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
According to court documents, Baver is charged with making false statements on loan applications for a company she owns called 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 allegedly seeking $10 million in PPP loans.
Court documents say Baver claimed her company’s monthly payroll averaged between $4,000,000 to $4,769,583 when in reality, she was not making any money through the company.
Baver also claimed her company employed between 100-430 people when she did not have a single employee. Baver was able to obtain $10 million in funding which prosecutors say she used 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 and competed in the 2002 and 2006 Olympics as well.
As the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the rise in PPP loan frauds 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.
Baver has been charged on eight counts of making a false statement to a bank and one count of money laundering. She is due in court for an arraignment hearing on Jan. 18, 2022.