Financial Crime: Ex-Olympic speed skating medalist charged with stealing $10M in COVID-19 aid to help finance Elijah Wood movie
A former U.S. Olympic speed skating champion has been indicted on charges that she fraudulently obtained $10 million in COVID-19 relief aid and used part of the money to help finance a film made by “Lord of the Rings” star Elijah Wood.
Federal prosecutors in Utah say Allison Baver, 41, had filed several applications in April 2020 for Paycheck Protection Program loans, claiming her entertainment company had as many as 430 employees and a monthly payroll of over $4 million.
But prosecutors say the company, Allison Baver Entertainment, had no employees and no monthly payroll. Nonetheless, Baver’s applications were approved and she received a payment of just under $10 million, according to court documents.
A message left with Baver, who lives in Taylorsville, Utah, wasn’t immediately returned. It wasn’t immediately clear whether she had retained an attorney.
Baver during her speed skating days. She competed in the 2006 and 2010 Olympics, and won a bronze medal in the women’s 3,000-meter relay in 2010. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Prosecutors say Baver used $150,000 of the money to help finance a film called “No Man of God,” that was produced by Wood’s production outfit, Company X. The film, about the relationship between serial killer Ted Bundy and an FBI special agent, was released earlier this year and starred Wood as the FBI agent.
Baver is listed in the film’s credits as an executive producer and, according to IMDB, had an uncredited role in the film.
A message left with a representative for Wood wasn’t immediately returned.
Actor Elijah Wood at the 2021 Tribeca Festival Premiere of ‘No Man Of God.’ (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images for Tribeca Festival)
Baver won a bronze medal with the 3,000-meter U.S. women’s relay team short track speed skating event at the 2010 Winter Olympic games in Vancouver. She also competed in the 2002 and 2006 Winter Olympics.
In 2009, Baver suffered a major leg injury in a collision during a race that nearly ended her career. She has since served as a motivational speaker and worked as a model and actress as well as running her entertainment business which focuses on film and television production, according to her website.