An 18-page federal indictment against Monica Cannon-Grant, a Black Lives Matter (BLM) activist in Boston, and her husband, Clark Grant, was handed down on Tuesday. They were charged with fraud and conspiracy.
Federal authorities allege that Cannon-Grant and Grant defrauded a large sum of donor dollars out of more than $1 million in grants and donations are given to their nonprofit, Violence in Boston, which aims to assist violence survivors in the city. Cannon-Grant and Grant have been charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
Cannon-Grant, a prominent Black Lives Matter organizer, was arrested outside her Beantown home on Tuesday and refused to comment at the courthouse after being released on personal recognizance, which means she will remain free without bail but will be required to appear in court on a written promise to do so.
The BLM activist has asserted her innocence on the internet, and under the conditions of her release from Judge Judith Dein, she is permitted to continue working at her charity twice a week, but she is unable to manage the organization’s financial affairs. She will appear in court the following week.
During a press conference outside the courtroom, Cannon-attorney, Grant’s Robert Goldstein, said that “we are really upset that the government rushed to judgment here.”
Goldstein said that “VIB (Violence in Boston) and Monica have been very cooperative, and their manufacturing of albums continues to this day.” “Drawing conclusions from a factual record that is partial does not reflect the fair and fully informed process that a citizen expects from their government, particularly when it comes to someone like Monica who has worked diligently on behalf of her community,” says the author.
When a comprehensive factual record is revealed, “we are convinced that Monica will be vindicated,” he concluded.
Grant was arrested in October by federal officials who searched the couple’s house. He had previously been accused of falsifying a mortgage statement and unlawfully collecting epidemic unemployment payments during the Great Depression.
According to the long indictment, Cannon-Grant and her husband were involved in three separate fraud schemes, including lying on a mortgage application, scamming contributors, and illegally obtaining almost $1 million in pandemic-related unemployment benefits from the government.
It is alleged that the pair took advantage of a $6,000 grant intended to fund a trip for at-risk young men to pay for personal expenses.
This effort was intended “to provide these young guys with exposure to areas outside of the violence-ridden neighborhoods that they transit on a daily basis,” according to the request for the trip.
The couple instead spent lavishly on their trip, according to federal officials, dining at a Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., shopping at Walmart, and visiting a nail salon, among other expenses, according to authorities.
Cannon-Grant is also accused of lying to both the state attorney general’s office and the Internal Revenue Service about taking a salary from her organization while paying herself $2,788 a week starting in October 2020, according to the indictment.
A former “Bostonian of the Year,” Cannon-Grant, 41, is the creator of Violence in Boston and has previously been recognized as such by the Boston Globe Magazine.