Baver was convicted of making false statements, tampering with a bank, money laundering and contempt.
A federal jury on Thursday found former Olympic speed skater Allison Baver guilty on federal charges alleging that she took out a $10 million loan from the Paycheck Protection Program to fund an entertainment company that, according to According to the public prosecutor’s office, she had neither employees nor payslips at the time she submitted her application.
Baver was convicted late Thursday in Salt Lake City of two counts of making false statements to influence a bank, one of money laundering and one of contempt. The sentencing hearing is scheduled for October 30, according to court filings.
Federal prosecutors said Baver, owner of Allison Baver Entertainment, used thousands of Paycheck Protection Program funds to pay personal HOA dues, as well as pay for travel, meals and “other non-payroll-related expenses.”
The Paycheck Protection Program is designed to offer small businesses forgivable credit to help offset costs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Although prosecutors said in the court filing that Baver’s entertainment company was a real entity, they argued that none of the company’s planned entertainment projects were “in production or even pre-production” when they announced the Credit applied for, and to date none have been produced.
According to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Utah, Baver filed eight Paycheck Protection Program loan applications for her entertainment company in the early months of the pandemic, demanding $10 million each.
The filings falsely stated that the company’s average monthly payroll varied from $4 million to over $4.7 million, even though the company had no monthly payroll — and had no employees, even though the loan applications included 430 employees, prosecutors claimed .
“Baver’s misrepresentations prompted Meridian Bank to fund its requested $10 million PPP loan,” the Utah U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement. “After receiving the loan proceeds, she transferred $150,000 to invest in a film,” which prosecutors say amounted to money laundering.
Baver was initially indicted on nine counts in December 2021, alleging that she lied to get the $10 million loan. She was faced with a separate count of contempt after prosecutors said she failed to produce documentation in response to a grand jury subpoena.
Ahead of the jury trial, prosecutors last week moved to dismiss six counts of charges against Baver related to PPP loan applications. Baver previously pleaded not guilty to all charges against her.
Nearly 51,000 Utah businesses and nonprofits have received a total of more than $5 billion in loans through the Paycheck Protection Program. Baver’s company was one of just 41 of 6,737 loans that were $5 million or more.
In July 2020, The Salt Lake Tribune reported that little was known about Allison Baver Entertainment. A company employing 430 people in Utah would be considered one of the state’s largest employers, but at the time, the Utah Office of Economic Development and the Utah Film Commission were unaware of the company, The Tribune reported.
In an email to The Tribune earlier this year, Baver wrote that her company had “several projects in development,” each requiring a “significant number of employees,” though she didn’t specify which projects were .
After The Tribune published her report, Baver filed a statement that she intended to sue the news organization. As of Friday, she had not served the Tribune with a complaint.