Saturday, January 23, 2021

Massachusetts tech CEO charged with $13 million coronavirus relief funds fraud

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A Massachusetts tech company president is accused of filing fraudulent loan applications for more than $13 million in coronavirus relief funds, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said on Wednesday.

Elijah Majak Buoi, 38, of Winchester, was indicted on Tuesday in connection with submitting fraudulent applications for COVID-19 relief through the Paycheck Protection Program.

The president and CEO of an information technology services company, Sosuda Tech, LLC, was indicted on four counts of wire fraud and one count of making a false statement to a financial institution. Buoi was arrested and charged by a criminal complaint last month.

Between April and June, Buoi allegedly submitted fraudulent applications for more than $13 million in PPP loans through Small Business Administration approved lenders.

Buoi misrepresented the number of employees and payroll expenses, and falsely certified that the U.S. was the primary residence for his employees, authorities said.

He also allegedly submitted falsified documents in support of his applications for PPP funds. Buoi ultimately received more than $2 million in PPP funds.

PPP loan proceeds must be used by businesses on payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent and utilities.

The loan program allows the interest and principal on the loan to be forgiven if businesses spend the proceeds on these expenses within a set time period, and use at least a certain percentage of the loan toward payroll expenses.

The charge of wire fraud can lead to a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, up to three years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.

The charge of making a false statement to a financial institution can lead to a sentence of up to 30 years in prison, up to three years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.

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