Second BR businessman sentenced in fitness center fraud case

A Baton Rouge businessman was ordered Thursday to spend eight months in a halfway house and pay more than $575,000 in restitution for a fraudulent scheme to obtain financing for a Baton Rouge fitness center that never opened.

U.S. District Judge James Brady also ordered Ronald Joseph Olah Jr. to forfeit an additional $325,000-plus in proceeds from the scheme.

Olah’s former business partner and co-defendant in the case, Matthew Scott Bernard, already is serving 41 months in federal prison after pleading guilty in August to bank fraud. Bernard must pay nearly $250,000 in restitution.

Olah pleaded guilty in November to wire fraud. He will be on probation for two years.

Powerhouse Gym originally planned to open to the public in January 2012 at 2084 S. Sherwood Forest Blvd.

A federal grand jury alleged last May that Olah and Bernard, while trying to secure financing for the gym’s development, made false representations to two local banks about their personal resources and incomes, and the financial condition of a gym Olah was operating, U.S. Attorney Walt Green said.

Olah and Bernard obtained loans from First Bank and Trust, First Guaranty Bank and an out-of-state investor based on their false statements, Green said.