Area man charged with $2 million in coronavirus loan fraud
Federal prosecutors today charged a Winchester man with wire fraud for his four applications for federal loans aimed at helping small businesses continue to make payroll despite losses related to Covid-19, alleging he made up employee numbers and that the few employees he does have are all based in India.
According to a federal complaint unsealed today, Elijah Majak Buoi of Winchester was rejected for three of his applications for Paycheck Protection Program loans - which can be converted to grants - but was granted $2 million on the fourth, despite giving different employee and payroll numbers on the applications.
In addition to having Buoi arrested today, the US Attorney's office is asking a judge to freeze his bank accounts so he cannot transfer the money he received out of the country. At his arraignment, a federal magistrate judge in Worcester set cash bail of $15,000.
According to an affidavit by an FBI agent on the case, Buoi runs a technology consulting firm out of his house called Sosuda Tech, LLC, for which he submitted four different PPP applications between April and June.
Although the federal government funding the program, it designated banks and other lenders to administer applications and loan approvals. The government says the loans are converted into grants for companies that can prove they met certain conditions - such as continuing to meet payroll for two months.
The affidavit states that Buoi first filed a PPP application with Bank of America in April for $7.5 million, based on the 353 employees he said he had, all allegedly in Massachusetts. After the bank rejected his request, he tried again with three other lenders, asking each for $2 million, with his employee count on applications ranging from 18 to 96 employees.
The first two lenders also rejected his requests, but the final one, to which he claimed he had 96 US employees, approved his request and he had $2 million deposited in his Bank of America checking account earlier this month.
According to the affidavit, Buoi's LinkedIn page says he has just five employees, and all are in India, making them ineligible for PPP coverage.
The affidavit says the Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance lists no required quarterly statements from Buoi's company.
According to the affidavit, Buoi transferred some $1.2 million of the PPP payment from one Bank of America account to another and has withdrawn $27,000 of it - $20,000 in a wire transfer to India.
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No one who lives in
No one who lives in Winchester should be given any govt money.
I don't think the loan was
I don't think the loan was meant to be going to him (even if he had been telling the truth). Just because someone can afford to live in Winchester doesn't mean they can make payroll for 3+ months.
Personally I'd rather see most of the money going directly to individuals that need it, but business also need to survive.
Glad some things are going right with US Attorney
And kudos to whichever bank or entity reported this. I can only imagine how much other fraud is out there and too small to raise suspicions, or just not being caught.
I can't help but notice that this guy in a black immigrant - he's the guy they targeted for enforcement of fraud? Meanwhile the gov't is attempting to block even revealing which businesses with administration connections got billions in handouts?
get a grip willya
This thief set up an LLC last year, working out of his house, and claimed to have 350 employees. Check out his website. It's a complete fabrication. It reads like one of the Nigerian scammer faxes from the 80's.
Way to miss the point
Way to miss the point completely.
This guy may be an immigrant but he's a scam artist. Personally knowing him this is not a stretch of his character. Black or white doesn't matter.
Same as before
You steal a little from the bank, you’re a criminal.
Bank steals everything from you, it’s business.
Does this man have an alias?
Is he also know by Dell'Abate?
every big spending package needs audits
Every large program should come with a bit of funding for IG/ombudsman/etc to focus on anti-fraud efforts.
Everything from food stamps to farm-aid to the PPP.
It's too bad they didn't
It's too bad they didn't catch the fraud before giving him the money. Besides the unemployment records, aren't there dozens of other ways the state and federal government should know how many employees a company has?
Now it will be far more expensive for the government to attempt to clean this up.