Developer Sentenced for Lying to Obtain Financing

Allison Tussey —  December 23, 2013 — Leave a comment

Matthew Scott Bernard, 44, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge James J. Brady to serve 41 months in federal prison for his role in a fraudulent scheme to secure financing.

The sentence arises from an investigation into fraud in connection with an effort by Bernard and others to develop a new gym in Baton Rouge to be called Powerhouse Gym of Baton Rouge.

On May 30, 2013, Bernard and a second individual, Ronald Joseph Olah, Jr., were charged by a federal grand jury with bank fraud, making false statements to a bank, and wire fraud. The indictment alleged that in 2011, while attempting to secure financing for a new gym that they sought to develop, Bernard and Olah made numerous false representations to two local banks regarding their personal financial resources, their incomes, and the financial condition of an existing gym that Olah was operating at the time. The indictment alleged that Bernard and Olah obtained loans from two different banks based on their false statements.

On August 14, 2013, Bernard pled guilty to bank fraud. On November 5, 2013, Bernard’s co-defendant, Olah, pled guilty to wire fraud in connection with a related scheme in which Olah took many of the same documents that Bernard and Olah had used to defraud the banks and knowingly sent them to an investor in Washington in another attempt to secure financing for the new gym.

Bernard appeared before Judge Brady for sentencing and was sentenced to serve 41 months in federal prison, to pay restitution in the amount of $249,899.82, and to pay a special assessment of $100. Following his release from prison, Bernard will be required to serve a three-year term of supervised release. Finally, as part of his sentence, Bernard will be ordered to forfeit an additional $249,899.82 in proceeds from the fraudulent scheme. Olah is awaiting sentencing.

Acting United States Attorney Walt Green announced the sentence.

Acting United States Attorney Walt Green stated, “This prosecution sends a strong message to those who would defraud the businesses in our community. This office remains committed to fighting fraud and white-collar crime, regardless of how the defendants intend to spend their criminal proceeds.”

The investigation of this matter was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Alan A. Stevens, who serves as a Deputy Criminal Chief of the Criminal Division.

Allison Tussey

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