Man convicted of fraudulently seeking $13M in COVID-19 loans

February 27, 2022 GMT

BOSTON (AP) — A Massachusetts businessman has been convicted of fraudulently seeking more than $13 million in federal coronavirus pandemic relief loans, federal prosecutors said.

Elijah Majak Buoi, 40, of Winchester, was convicted Thursday of four counts of wire fraud and one count of making a false statement to a financial institution following a three-day trial in Boston federal court, according to U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts Rachael Rollins’ office.

Prosecutors said Buoi submitted six loan applications through the Paycheck Protection Program but misrepresented the number of employees and payroll expenses for his startup company, Sosuda Tech. He also submitted fraudulent IRS tax forms to support his applications, they said.

The loan program was part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security, or CARES, Act that allowed qualifying small businesses and other organizations to receive forgivable loans to cover payroll, mortgages, rent and utilities.

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Buoi was able to obtain a $2 million loan before he was arrested in June 2020. Rollins’ office said the government has recovered nearly all of the money.

Buoi’s lawyer Bryan Owens said Sunday that his client was “mislead” by a bank loan officer and made a “good faith mistake” in completing the tax forms.

He added that Buoi is a “dedicated family man” who has “overcome tremendous obstacles in his life.” Buoi is due to be sentenced in June.