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Former Olympian charged over attempted $1.5M pandemic loan, officials say

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The Olympic rings are illuminated for the first time to mark 6 months to go to the Olympic games at Odaiba Marine Park on Jan. 24, 2020 in Tokyo, Japan.

A former Olympic ice skater is being charged with attempting to access loans for more than $1.5 million through the pandemic payment program, according to a Justice Department release.

The DOJ issued a statement on Tuesday that they have charged Luka Klasinc with bank fraud and aggravated identity theft in connection with his use of falsified documents during his attempts to gain access to over $1.5 million in fraudulent loans. 

Klasinc, a Slovenian national, owned his own event management company called BOB77 and beginning in 2019 he opened three bank accounts with an international financial institution called “Bank 1.”

According to the statement, Klasinc received up to $1.5 million from the Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans between July 2020 and September 2020. Bank 1 froze all of his accounts in September, contacting Klasinc for information on the fund’s activity. 

Klasinc later provided to the bank a falsified letter from SBA attempting to legitimize the deposits he gained and to persuade the bank to release all funds, claiming that the SBA deposits were investments, according to the statement. 

“As alleged, at a time when U.S. small businesses were struggling because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Klasinc thought he could scam his way to easy money. As alleged, Klasinc used false documents to try and obtain over a million dollars in funds intended to help hard working Americans but, thanks to the diligence of the FBI, his plans have been put on ice.  He will now be held accountable for his alleged brazen lies,” U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Audrey Strauss said in the statement. 

Klasinc, 48, was arrested on Monday and is charged with one count of bank fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. If convicted of these crimes, Klasinc will face up to 32 years in prison.

Tags bank fraud Luka Klasinc Manhattan New York U.S. Department of Justice

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