Massachusetts Man Convicted of COVID-19 Relief Fraud

A federal jury convicted a Massachusetts man for submitting fraudulent loan applications seeking more than $13 million in forgivable Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.

According to evidence presented at trial, Elijah Majak Buoi, 40, of Winchester, submitted six fraudulent PPP loan applications on behalf of his company Sosuda Tech LLC (Sosuda) to four different SBA-approved lenders. In each loan application, Buoi misrepresented the number of employees and payroll expenses.

Buoi also submitted fraudulent IRS tax forms in support of his applications.

The evidence at trial showed that Sosuda was a startup company with no U.S.-based payroll and no U.S.-based employees. As a result of his scheme, Buoi obtained a $2 million PPP loan.

The government recovered approximately $1.97 million of the loan funds.

Buoi was convicted of four counts of wire fraud and one count of making a false statement to a financial institution. He is scheduled to be sentenced on June 16, and faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for each wire fraud conviction and 30 years in prison for making false statements to a financial institution. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Rachael S. Rollins for the District of Massachusetts; Assistant Director Luis Quesada of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division; Special Agent in Charge Joseph R. Bonavolonta of the FBI’s Boston Division; Special Agent in Charge Joleen D. Simpson of IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) in Boston; Acting Special Agent in Charge Stephen Donnelly of the Office of Inspector General for the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (FRB-OIG), Eastern Region; Special Agent in Charge Amaleka McCall-Brathwaite of the SBA Office of Inspector General (SBA-OIG), Eastern Regional Office; and Special Agent in Charge Patricia Tarasca of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Office of Inspector General (FDIC-OIG), New York Region, made the announcement today.

The FBI, IRS-CI, FRB-OIG, SBA-OIG and FDIC-OIG investigated the case.

Trial Attorney Della Sentilles of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Mackenzie A. Queenin of the District of Massachusetts prosecuted the case.

In May 2021, the Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to marshal the resources of the Department of Justice in partnership with agencies across government to enhance efforts to combat and prevent pandemic-related fraud.

The Task Force bolsters efforts to investigate and prosecute the most culpable domestic and international criminal actors and assists agencies tasked with administering relief programs to prevent fraud by, among other methods, augmenting and incorporating existing coordination mechanisms, identifying resources and techniques to uncover fraudulent actors and their schemes, and sharing and harnessing information and insights gained from prior enforcement efforts.

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