Winchester’s Elijah Majak Buoi convicted in COVID fraud scheme after trying to secure more than $13 million in Paycheck Protection Program loans
A 40-year-old Massachusetts man was convicted by a federal jury on Friday of filing fraudulent loan applications seeking more than $13 million in forgivable loans through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a announced the United States Attorney’s Office.
Elijah Majak Buoi, of Winchester, was found guilty following a three-day trial in which the man faced four counts of wire fraud and one count of misrepresentation at a financial institution, officials said.
Buoi, who is the president and CEO of an information technology services company, Sosuda Tech, LLC., was arrested and charged by criminal complaint in June 2020 and later indicted by a federal grand jury in July 2020.
Prosecutors say Buoi submitted six fraudulent PPP loan applications requesting more than $13 million in forgivable loans, on behalf of his IT company, guaranteed by the Small Business Administration for COVID-19 relief from the Coronavirus. Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
In each loan application, Buoi misrepresented the number of employees and salary expenses. He also submitted fraudulent IRS tax forms in support of his claims, authorities said.
Evidence presented at trial showed that Buoi’s company was a startup with no US payrolls or US-based employees. However, as a result of his scheme, he obtained a $2 million PPP loan, the US attorney’s office said.
The government recovered approximately $1.97 million of the loan funds.
U.S. District Court Chief Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV scheduled Buoi’s sentencing for June 16, 2022.
The CARES Act is a federal law enacted in March 2020 designed to provide emergency financial assistance to millions of Americans who are suffering the economic effects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The bill authorized up to $349 billion in forgivable loans to small businesses for job retention and certain other expenses, through the PPP. In April 2020, Congress authorized over $300 billion in additional PPP funding.
The PPP allows small businesses and other eligible organizations to receive loans with a term of two years and an interest rate of 1%.
Loans are to be used for payroll costs, mortgage interest, rent and utilities. The PPP allows for the interest and principal of the PPP loan to be forgiven if companies spend the proceeds of these expenses within a specified period of time and use at least a certain percentage of the loan for payroll expenses.
- Massachusetts man charged with coronavirus fraud after authorities say he applied for more than $13 million in Paycheck Protection Program loans