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A Black Lives Matter activist charged with fraud who claimed she was paid no salary is accused of paying herself $170,000 from her Violence in Boston charity, which she said she started because ‘shooters are victims.’ 

Monica Cannon-Grant, 41, who founded the non-profit organization Violence in Boston, claimed the charity didn’t pay any salary, but an 18-count indictment alleges that she paid herself $2,788 a week, taking home $25,096 in 2020 and $170,092 last year, the U.S. attorney’s office said in a statement Tuesday.

The Violence in Boston charity received significant attention at the height of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement in 2020, when the murder of George Floyd by police bolstered the nation’s racial justice movement.

Cannon-Grant, who is the founder and CEO of the organization said in a video posted to Instagram, that she started the charity because somebody tried to shoot and kill her son while he was next to her. But the trigger jammed. 

She decided to use the opportunity to  start the charity to help victims, which includes the shooters, and was later named a Bostonian of the Year by the Boston Globe newspaper. 

‘You just don’t wake up and want to harm someone,’ she said. ‘It comes from a place of hopelessness, it comes from PTSD.’

She went on to explain that from the work she’s done in the past working with shooters, that ‘before they were shooters, they were victims. And someone failed them.’

But in recent months the organization has come under financial scrutiny.  

An 18-count indictment released last week alleges that Cannon-Grant, along with her husband, Clark Grant, 38, of Taunton, Massachusetts, used the funds from the charity to pay for personal expenses including, hotels, car rentals, auto repairs, restaurant meals, nail salons and personal travel.

Grant, pictured at a September 2020 BLM rally,  is said to have blown grants intended to help vulnerable young men on trips to restaurants and nail salons. She's also accused of fraudulently obtaining $100,000 in pandemic relief, and lying on a mortgage application

Grant, pictured at a September 2020 BLM rally,  is said to have blown grants intended to help vulnerable young men on trips to restaurants and nail salons. She's also accused of fraudulently obtaining $100,000 in pandemic relief, and lying on a mortgage application

Grant, pictured at a September 2020 BLM rally,  is said to have blown grants intended to help vulnerable young men on trips to restaurants and nail salons. She’s also accused of fraudulently obtaining $100,000 in pandemic relief, and lying on a mortgage application 

The indictment details the activist spending $145 at a Boston nail salon, over $400 in grocery and Walmart purchases in Columbia, MD, hundreds of dollars in meals costs in Connecticut, New Jersey and Maryland, including at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Shake Shack, and other restaurants; $1,211 in charges at the Sonesta Suites, Columbia, MD, hundreds of dollars in fuel, parking and car rental costs; and hundreds of dollars in ATM withdrawals…’

Canon-Grant also received $33,426 in pandemic funds, the indictment read. She also received thousands of dollars in consulting fees, promoting ‘diversity’ programs at private companies. 

One of those payments included a $75,000 grant from a media company in Boston, called the Phantom Gourmet television program. 

‘Unemployment caught my ass. Asked me to provide documents by June unless I’ll have to pay it all back,’ Cannon-Grant told her husband through text message on March 26, 2021, after realizing she’d been busted, according to prosecutors.   

The couple was charged last week in the 18-count indictment with wire fraud, conspiracy, and making false statements to a mortgage lending business.

Cannon-Grant also faces a mail fraud count. She has denied all allegations made against her. 

Cannon-Grant, once named a Bostonian of the Year by the prestigious Boston Globe newspaper, was arrested at her spacious home last week. She appeared in a federal court on Tuesday alongside her husband. 

Judge Judith Dein released Cannon-Grant on her own recognizance, stating that she could continue to work for Violence in Boston, but that she must not be involved in its finances.  

Monica Cannon-Grant is pictured outside a Boston federal courthouse Tuesday where she and her husband were charged with 18 counts of fraud totaling $1m

Monica Cannon-Grant is pictured outside a Boston federal courthouse Tuesday where she and her husband were charged with 18 counts of fraud totaling $1m

Monica Cannon-Grant is pictured outside a Boston federal courthouse Tuesday where she and her husband were charged with 18 counts of fraud totaling $1m 

Monica Cannon-Grant, 41, talks about her non-profit organization Violence in Boston, which she said she founded because 'shooters are victims'

Monica Cannon-Grant, 41, talks about her non-profit organization Violence in Boston, which she said she founded because 'shooters are victims'

Monica Cannon-Grant, 41, talks about her non-profit organization Violence in Boston, which she said she founded because ‘shooters are victims’

The organization received significant attention at the height of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement in 2020, when the murder of George Floyd by police bolstered the nation’s racial justice movement. 

But the BLM foundation has also faced intense scrutiny over financial transparency in recent months, and leaders admitted that they had not been clear about the movement’s finances and governance over the years.

BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors, stepped down as executive director of the Black Lives Matter Global Network last year amid scrutiny of her $3.2 million property empire. 

The foundation has since opened up about such matters. It says the fiscal sponsor currently managing its money requires spending be approved by a collective action fund, which is a board made up of representatives from official BLM chapters.   

Cannon-Grant, 41, is also said to have paid herself $2,700-a-week and treated herself to a $450,000 five-bed house in Taunton, Massachusetts, last year

Cannon-Grant, 41, is also said to have paid herself $2,700-a-week and treated herself to a $450,000 five-bed house in Taunton, Massachusetts, last year

Cannon-Grant, 41, is also said to have paid herself $2,700-a-week and treated herself to a $450,000 five-bed house in Taunton, Massachusetts, last year

Monica Cannon-Grant and her husband Clark Grant are pictured together

Monica Cannon-Grant and her husband Clark Grant are pictured together

Monica Cannon-Grant and her husband Clark Grant are pictured together 

After Floyd’s killing in Minneapolis, the surge of donations saw the BLM  foundation go from small, scrappy movement to maturing institution. Other organizations, like Cannon-Grant’s Violence and Boston, also saw growth.  

Cannon-Grant and her husband are said to have misappropriated grants intended for their charity, including a $6,000 check given to them by Suffolk District Attorney’s office in June 2019, intended to be spent on a retreat for young men feared to be at risk of falling into crime.

Instead, Cannon-Grant and Grant treated themselves to meals at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. and Shake Shack, and a three-night trip to Maryland that included a $1,200 hotel stay, it is claimed.   

Cannon-Grant is also said to have used some of the cash on multiple trips to a Boston nail salon, as well as car rentals, groceries and trips to Walmart.

The $6,000 retreat was supposed ‘to give these young men exposure to communities outside of the violence riddled neighborhoods that they navigate daily’ and give them exposure to activities focused on community-building and coping techniques,’ according to her grant proposal. 

Another alleged incident in 2017 saw $3,000 of a $10,000 donation for needy children spent on paying the couple’s rent arrears, it is claimed.  

Cannon-Grant and her husband also fraudulently applied for $100,000 federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits that they knew they were not eligible to receive because they had other sources of income at the time, it is alleged.

They also lied to a mortgage lender by saying Violence in Boston’s assets were their own to help pay for mortgage fees and closing costs, prosecutors said.

Cannon-Grant, 41, and her husband Clarke Grant, 38, were arrested at their home in Taunton, Massachusetts last week. It is unclear if any money from donations provided to Violence in Boston was used to purchase the $450k and five-bedroom property

Cannon-Grant, 41, and her husband Clarke Grant, 38, were arrested at their home in Taunton, Massachusetts last week. It is unclear if any money from donations provided to Violence in Boston was used to purchase the $450k and five-bedroom property

Cannon-Grant, 41, and her husband Clarke Grant, 38, were arrested at their home in Taunton, Massachusetts last week. It is unclear if any money from donations provided to Violence in Boston was used to purchase the $450k and five-bedroom property

The couple also lied to a mortgage lender by saying Violence in Boston's assets were their own to help pay for fees and closing costs. Pictured: the interior of the Grants' Taunton home

The couple also lied to a mortgage lender by saying Violence in Boston's assets were their own to help pay for fees and closing costs. Pictured: the interior of the Grants' Taunton home

The couple also lied to a mortgage lender by saying Violence in Boston’s assets were their own to help pay for fees and closing costs. Pictured: the interior of the Grants’ Taunton home 

Cannon Grant, a mother of six, was once given the 'Bostonian of the Year' award by The Boston Globe Magazine and hailed as the city’s 'best social justice advocate' by Boston Magazine

Cannon Grant, a mother of six, was once given the 'Bostonian of the Year' award by The Boston Globe Magazine and hailed as the city’s 'best social justice advocate' by Boston Magazine

Cannon Grant, a mother of six, was once given the ‘Bostonian of the Year’ award by The Boston Globe Magazine and hailed as the city’s ‘best social justice advocate’ by Boston Magazine

The couple maintained exclusive control over organization finances, and did not disclose to other Violence in Boston directors, bookkeepers, or financial auditors that they had used the funds for their own purposes, prosecutors added.

Last Tuesday, the couple was arrested at their $450,000 Taunton residence. It remains unclear if funds given to the non-profit organization were used to buy the five-bedroom home, which was purchased in 2021, at the height of their alleged scamming. 

Both were charged in an 18-count indictment with wire fraud, conspiracy, and making false statements to a mortgage lending business, according to prosecutors. 

Cannon-Grant also faces a mail fraud count. She claims to have previously filed to the IRS and the state attorney general’s charity division that she has not been receiving a salary. However, prosecutors said that in October 2020, Cannon-Grant was starting to pay herself $2,788 per week. 

The organization runs a food pantry twice a week. Prior to Canon-Grant’s arrival in court, her attorney, Robert Goldstein, said he expected her to be vindicated.

‘We are extremely disappointed the government rushed to judgment here,’ he said in an email. ‘VIB and Monica have been fully cooperating and their production of records remains ongoing. Drawing conclusions from an incomplete factual record does not represent the fair and fully informed process a citizen deserves from its government, especially someone like Monica who has worked tirelessly on behalf of her community.’

Prosecutors did not reveal the total amount of money collected by Violence in Boston that was transferred into the Grants’ personal accounts.  

Clarke Grant was previously charged in October with illegally obtaining an estimated $67,950 in pandemic-related unemployment benefits before claiming that the nonprofit’s assets were his own in a mortgage application. He was working in a full-time job at a transportation company at the the time.  

His court date on the new charges has not been scheduled. 

Cannon-Grant's received thousands of dollars in consulting fees, promoting 'diversity' programs, public speaking forums and public appearances through her Link Tree

Cannon-Grant's received thousands of dollars in consulting fees, promoting 'diversity' programs, public speaking forums and public appearances through her Link Tree

Cannon-Grant’s received thousands of dollars in consulting fees, promoting ‘diversity’ programs, public speaking forums and public appearances through her Link Tree

Violence in Boston was founded in 2017 with $1,000, according to its website. Donations poured into the non-profit throughout the years, as the group received more than $50,000 just for April 2020 and $53,977 on another months from Boston officials in the wake of George Floyd’s May 2020 murder. 

‘Violence in Boston’s mission is to improve the quality of life and life outcomes of individuals from underserved communities by reducing the prevalence of violence and the impact of associated trauma while addressing social injustices through advocacy and direct services,’ the organization says on its website.

During the coronavirus pandemic, the nonprofit also distributed food.

Cannon-Grant’s activism, including the organization of a rally in the city in 2020 to protest the killing of George Floyd has earned her numerous awards, such as The Boston Globe Magazine’s Bostonian of the Year award, and a Boston Celtics Heroes Among Us award, both in 2020.

BLM leader Monica Cannon-Grant (R) speaks to protesters about their movement with the photos of people who have lost their lives, including George Floyd, to police racism across the US at Franklin Park in Boston, Massachusetts on June 2, 2020

BLM leader Monica Cannon-Grant (R) speaks to protesters about their movement with the photos of people who have lost their lives, including George Floyd, to police racism across the US at Franklin Park in Boston, Massachusetts on June 2, 2020

BLM leader Monica Cannon-Grant (R) speaks to protesters about their movement with the photos of people who have lost their lives, including George Floyd, to police racism across the US at Franklin Park in Boston, Massachusetts on June 2, 2020

The Cummings Foundation, which features prominently on Violence in Boston’s website as a major donor for three-year, $100,000 grant last year, is cooperating with authorities and monitoring the situation, foundation Executive Director Joyce Vyriotes said.

‘Because Violence in Boston’s next grant installment (its second of three payments) is not scheduled to occur until late June, no decision on its potential distribution has yet been made. We will be following the investigation closely,’ she said in an e-mail sent to the Boston Globe.  

The foundation, established by the founder of the commercial real estate firm Cummings Properties, has distributed one-third of the grant amount, but no decision has been made on whether the next third will be distributed, she said.

Source: dailymail

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