BOSTON (AP) — A Massachusetts man is charged with fraudulently seeking for his information technology company more than $13 million in government loans intended for businesses struggling because of the coronavirus pandemic, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.
Elijah Majak Buoi, 38, of Winchester, was indicted on four counts of wire fraud and of making a false statement to a financial institution.
Buoi, who was arrested last month, is free on $5,000 cash bail.
Buoi, the president and CEO of Sosuda Tech, LLC, in April and June allegedly submitted fraudulent applications for more than $13 million in forgivable loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration for COVID-19 relief through the Paycheck Protection Program, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in Boston.
He lied about his number of employees and his payroll expenses and falsely certified that the United States was the primary residence for his employees, prosecutors said.
In the application for one loan, he claimed to have 353 employees, most within the U.S., according to an FBI affidavit. He actually had six employees, including himself, and the other five were in India, according to the affidavit.
Buoi ultimately received more than $2 million in coronavirus relief funds, prosecutors said.
PPP funds must be used by businesses for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent and utilities.
An email seeking comment was left Wednesday with Buoi’s federal public defender.
He faces up to 20 years in prison for each wire fraud count if convicted, and 30 years for the making a false statement to a financial institution count if convicted, prosecutors said.