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DOJ Charges President and CEO of IT Company for ‘Outrageous’ PPP Loan Fraud

U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling

A 38-year-old Winchester, Massachusetts man is facing federal wire fraud charges after he allegedly used coronavirus pandemic relief loans for businesses to his illicit benefit. Elijah Majak Buoi, described as the president and CEO of an information technology (IT) company, was formally charged on Monday in the District of Massachusetts.

According to the feds, Buoi took advantage of the CARES Act’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) by submitting multiple fraudulent applications for loans between April and June:

The complaint alleges that Buoi is the president and CEO of an information technology services company, Sosuda Tech LLC. Between April 2020 and June 2020, Buoi allegedly submitted fraudulent applications for over $13 million in PPP loans through SBA-approved lenders. In these applications, Buoi misrepresented the number of employees and payroll expenses and falsely certified that the United States was the primary residence for his employees. Buoi also allegedly submitted falsified documentation in support of his applications for PPP funds. The complaint further alleges that Buoi ultimately received over $2 million in PPP funds. The government has seized approximately $1.98 million from Sosuda’s business bank accounts.

The FBI affidavit alleged that Buoi “exaggerated or fabricated information” about his company’s “payroll expenses and operations, and falsified documents, in order to obtain a PPP loan.”

In a statement posted on the FBI Boston’s official Twitter account, Special Agent in charge Joseph Bonavolonta said it was “outrageous” the defendant tried to “steal” more than $13 million dollars in funds by “lying on at least four different loan applications.”

“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. 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,” the statement said.

U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts Andew Lelling, who is widely known for charging numerous parents in the college admissions scandal, echoed Bonavolonta’s statement in a statement of his own.

“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. This behavior is reprehensible, and my office is committed to rooting out and prosecuting this kind of fraud wherever we find it,” he said.

The LinkedIn page for Elijah Buoi, which identifies him as the CEO and founder of the Massachusetts-based Sosuda Tech company, describes the company as an “Engineering/IT Service Startup company” whose “Fundamental success lies in the success of our customers.”

“We collaborate with them to sharpen our insights and amplify their victories by executing everything with utmost excellence. When treating everyone with respect, we nurture an open environment where everyone is encouraged to learn, share and grow equally,” the description continues.

[Image via YouTube screengrab]

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Matt Naham is managing editor of Law&Crime. He formerly worked as news editor and weekend editor at Rare.