Co-owner of failed Powerhouse Gym sentenced to 41 months for bank fraud

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - One of the owners of a failed Baton Rouge gym was sentenced to more than three years in prison Thursday.

Matthew Scott Bernard, a co-owner of Powerhouse Gym, was sentenced to 41 months (3 years, 5 months) in prison after pleading guilty to bank fraud charges Thursday morning.

On August 14, 2013, Bernard pleaded guilty to bank fraud. On November 5, 2013, Bernard's co-defendant, Ronald Joseph Olah, Jr., pleaded 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 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, he will be required to serve a 3-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. Bernard's co-defendant, Mr. Olah, is awaiting sentencing.

The other co-owners of Powerhouse Gym have not yet gone to trial.

The owners of the gym were officially evicted from the building in court on Jan. 25, 2013.

Powerhouse Gym and its construction's financial problems have been well documented, including several battles with contractors over a year and half period.

The gym owners advertised a huge, state-of-the-art gym in Baton Rouge to open January 2012.

A small, temporary part of the gym opened for a few weeks ago prior to the eviction, but was closed once the eviction was issued.

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