WORCESTER — A senior district court judge sentenced a 33-year-old Worcester man to nearly 11 years in prison for wire fraud with respect to COVID business and unemployment relief, in addition to drug trafficking.
Augustus “Bobo” Kormah was sentenced by U.S. Senior District Court Judge Timothy Hillman to 131 months in prison and three years of supervised release in a federal court in Worcester on Wednesday. Kormah was also ordered to pay $258,705 in restitution. In June 2023, he pleaded guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine and two counts of wire fraud.
Acting U.S. Attorney Joshua Levy announced the sentencing this past week and said the case began in 2020 as the result of a police drug investigation.
On Sept. 11, 2020, Kormah was arrested during suspected drug trafficking activity and a search of his apartment resulted in the discovery and seizure of about 26 grams of cocaine, a Polymer 80 9 mm firearm without no serial number as well as a black magazine loaded with 30, 9 mm cartridges.
An investigation that followed eventually revealed that, between May and October 2020, Kormah used the personal identifying information of over 50 individuals to submit about 125 fraudulent claims for COVID unemployment benefits as well as 15 fraudulent claims for COVID small business loans.
As a result of the fraud scheme, Kormah obtained about $100,000 in fraudulent unemployment benefits and about $170,000 in fraudulent small business loans.
In addition to Levy, the announcement was made by ATF Special Agent in Charge James Ferguson, Boston Field Division. Secret Service Special Agent in Charge Andrew Murphy, Boston Field Office, Special Agent in Charge Jonathan Mellone, Office of Inspector General, and Worcester Police Chief Paul Saucier.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lucy Sun of the Criminal Division and Daniel Bennett of the Worcester Branch Office prosecuted the case.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.
On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.
Acting U.S. Attorney Joshua Levy contributed to this article.