Former Olympic figure skater Luka Klasinc accused of defrauding COVID relief fund – ESPN 101

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(NEW YORK) – A former Olympian has been accused of defrauding the Small Business Administration over a pandemic loan.

Luka Klasinc, a Slovenian figure skater, competed in the men’s singles event at the 1992 Olympic Winter Games. He finished 26th in the short program and did not qualify for the free skate. He was national champion for three consecutive years from 1990 to 1992.

Most recently, he owned BOB77, an event management company that runs ice-themed amusement parks around the world, including Fun Park in Warsaw, Poland; Ice Fun Park in Düsseldorf, Germany; and the Winter Classic in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Since last July, Klasinc’s company has received more than $ 1.5 million in economic disaster loans from the US Small Business Administration.

When the accounts that controlled the money started making suspicious wire transfers, Klasinc’s bank froze the funds, according to the criminal complaint.

In an attempt to get the funds released, Klasinc wrote an email begging the bank to “sincerely please activate my account immediately,” according to the complaint.

The email included a letter on letterhead from the SBA dated October 1, 2020, which purported to “verify” that the sum of $ 1,999,000 was payable to “Luka Klasinc of BOB77 LLC”, as “Payment for real estate investment only” and not as “a loan of any kind,” the complaint said.

Federal prosecutors said they knew the letter was bogus when they spoke to the SBA employee whose signature was on it.

“Based on my conversation with the SBA employee, I learned that the SBA did not issue the fraudulent SBA letter, and that the SBA employee did not sign or sign. given his authorization for his signature to be affixed to the fraudulent SBA letter, “FBI wrote Special Agent Ryan Redel.

Klasinc was arrested before he could board a scheduled flight from Newark, New Jersey to Istanbul on Monday. He made a first appearance on Tuesday, but did not plead.

He is charged with bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. The charge of bank fraud could carry a maximum of 30 years in prison.

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