WINCHESTER (CBS) – A Winchester man is facing federal charges for allegedly filing fraudulent loan applications seeking over $13 million in coronavirus small business relief funds.
Elijah Majak Buoi, 38, is the president and CEO of Sosuda Tech, LLC, an information technology services company.
U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling said Buoi is accused of misrepresenting the number of employees and payroll expenses for the company when applying for loans through the Small Business Association’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
Buoi also allegedly falsely certified that the United States was the primary residence for his employees.
The Winchester resident was charged in a criminal complaint for wire fraud. He is expected to appear in federal court in Boston on Monday afternoon.
Federal investigators seized about $1.98 million from Sosuda’s business bank accounts.
“The defendant tried to defraud an emergency program designed to help businesses, and their employees, survive the most difficult economic crisis since the Great Depression,” said Lelling in a statement. “This behavior is reprehensible, and my office is committed to rooting out and prosecuting this kind of fraud wherever we find it.”
Joseph Bonavolonta, FBI Boston special agent in charge, said it is “outrageous” that Boui would try to take advantage of funds aimed at helping small businesses.
“It’s outrageous anyone would try to steal from a program that was set up to be a lifeline to businesses struggling to stay afloat during the pandemic, but we believe that’s exactly what Elijah Buoi did. He allegedly tried to steal $13.5 million for his own use by lying on at least four different loan applications,” said Bonavolonta. “This case should serve as a warning to others plotting similar scams— we are acting and investigating in real time to stop anyone using this crisis as a means to rip off the federal government at the expense of hard-working taxpayers.”
Prosecutors say Buoi applied for the loans between April and June.
The PPP is designed for businesses to obtain loans that must be used on payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent and utilities.