A New Jersey manager of 50 senior living facilities in three states was charged with concealment in bankruptcy for allegedly hiding $2.9 million in funds.
Elia Zois faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. He made an initial court appearance last week in U.S. District Court of New Jersey for reportedly filing a fraudulent bankruptcy petition.
Zois said that he had limited assets and hundreds of millions of dollars in liabilities. In reality, according to Department of Justice prosecutors, he had millions in a hidden bank account that he used “to support a lavish lifestyle for himself, his family members and others,” according to the complaint.
Zois was one of five partners in “Business-2,” an unnamed New Jersey-based healthcare organization with senior living facilities throughout New Jersey, Michigan and Wisconsin. He and his spouse filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection on Feb. 6, 2019, alleging that between 2014 and 2018, he only had $9,000 in assets and $201 million in liabilities.
A forensic accounting report, however, found that Zois had received $2.9 million in deposits into an account for “Business-1,” of which he was the sole owner, including $200,000 in undeclared income after he filed for bankruptcy, according to the Justice Department. The hidden account, prosecutors said, was intended to conceal a portion of his income to circumvent existing IRS liens on his known assets.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration, the Department of Labor New York Region and the FBI Milwaukee field office.