Man found guilty of fraudulently soliciting $13 million in COVID-19 loans

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

Elijah Majak Buoi, 40, of Winchester, was found guilty on Thursday of four counts of wire fraud and one count of misrepresentation to a financial institution following a three-day trial in federal court in Boston, according to US attorney from 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 at his startup, Sosuda Tech. He also submitted fraudulent IRS tax forms to support his claims, they said.

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

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

Buoi’s attorney, Bryan Owens, said Sunday that his client was “misled” by a bank loan officer and made an “honest faith error” in completing tax forms.

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

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