Karen Olson, along with Kyle Beus and Rob Wells, owned Valley Dairy, the Matanuska Creamery’s parent company. Olson’s charges stem from the fall of 2008, when federal prosecutors say, she executed a scheme to illegally obtain 430 thousand dollars from the state of Alaska by covering up Valley Dairy’s shaky finances. Olson is also charged with submitting false statements to the US Department of Agriculture Rural Development program, which convinced it to allow the state to take a first lien position on dairy equipment bought with Valley Dairy’s federal grants.
Federal prosecutor Retta Randall says a November trial date has been set, but would not comment on the case other than that. Olson’s attorney Steve Wells, says federal prosecutors presented some evidence in court, but there is a lot more evidence that has not been examined yet
“The government announced that it has a lot of evidence that it has seized. I don’t know how much of it it will be using, but the government announced yesterday in court that it has roughly 30 to 40 boxes of materials and certainly I’m gonna have to sit down and go through that and look at that as we prepare for trial. “
Olson’s partner in the dairy business, Kyle Beus, [Bee YOOSE] pleaded “guilty” to six federal fraud charges earlier this week. Beus had secured a federal grant in 2007 to start a dairy business in the Matanuska Valley after the state – subsidized Matanuska Maid dairy folded. Beus had been charged last year with using federal money for his own expenses.
Last December, a federal grand jury indicted Beus with three counts of wire fraud and three counts of making false statements. Bues is accused of falsifying paperwork to get the grant money. Beus had originally pleaded not guilty to the charges, but this week changed his plea to guilty to avoid a jury trial.
Beus claimed in a statement Monday “All of the funds involved ultimately went to the building of Matanuska Creamery.”
According to prosecutor Randall, Olson could face a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a one million dollar fine, if convicted. Olson’s attorney, Wells, says it is likely that the defense will file a motion to push back the trial date, due to the amount of evidence he has to review.
“Based upon that volume of discovery I am going to be asking the court to declare this complex. We discussed this yesterday in court and I think that the court and the government are in agreement. So I imagine that that court date will be vacated and continued.”
Wells says Olson disputes the charges and is looking forward to her day in court.