Monica Cannon-Grant, a Black Lives Matter (BLM) leader in Boston, and her husband, Clark Grant, were hit with an 18-page federal indictment for fraud and conspiracy on Tuesday.
Federal authorities allege that Cannon-Grant and Grant have defrauded a large sum of donor dollars out of over $1 million in grants and donations given to their nonprofit, Violence in Boston, which aims to help violence survivors in the city.
Cannon-Grant, a prominent BLM organizer, was arrested outside of her Beantown home Tuesday and declined to comment at the courthouse after being released on personal recognizance, meaning she’ll remain free without bail but with a written promise to appear in court.
Monica Cannon-Grant, front left, leads demonstrators as they march from Nubian Square to Boston Police headquarters, April 21, 2021, in Boston, as they celebrate the conviction of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin and demand for an end to police brutality. Federal prosecutors said in a statement Tuesday, March 15, 2022 that Cannon-Grant, and her husband Clark Grant, of Taunton, Mass., have been charged in an 18-count indictment with wire fraud, conspiracy, and making false statements to a mortgage lending business. (Erin Clark/The Boston Globe via AP)
The BLM activist has claimed innocence online and, under the terms of her release from Judge Judith Dein, is allowed to continue to work at her nonprofit twice a week but cannot handle the finances. She will be arraigned next week.
Prosecutors did not say how much money was allegedly taken by the couple.
Cannon-Grant’s attorney, Robert Goldstein, said “we are extremely disappointed the government rushed to judgment here” in a statement outside the courthouse.
“VIB (Violence in Boston) and Monica have been fully cooperating, and their production of records remains ongoing,” Goldstein said. “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.”
Michael Harris protests in front of the Glenn County Courthouse (Matt Leach/Fox Digital)
“We remain fully confident Monica will be vindicated when a complete factual record emerges,” he continued.
Grant was arrested last October by federal agents who raided the couple’s home and was previously charged with lying on a mortgage statement and collecting pandemic unemployment benefits illegally.
The lengthy indictment alleges Cannon-Grant and her husband engaged in three different fraud schemes: lying on a mortgage application, defrauding donors and illicitly collecting approximately $1 million in pandemic-related unemployment benefits.
The couple is accused of using a $6,000 grant meant for a trip for at-risk young men for personal expenditures.
A woman holds a Black Lives Matter flag during an event in remembrance of George Floyd and to call for justice for those who lost loved ones to police violence outside the Minnesota State Capitol on May 24, 2021, in Saint Paul, Minnesota. (Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images)
According to a trip proposal, the venture was “to give these young men exposure to communities outside of the violence-riddled neighborhoods that they navigate daily.”
Instead, the pair spared no expense on a vacation, according to federal authorities, eating a meal at a Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., buying merchandise at Walmart and taking visits to a nail salon among other expenditures.
Prosecutors also allege that Cannon-Grant told both the state attorney general’s office and the IRS that she took no salary from her nonprofit while paying herself $2,788 a week beginning in October 2020.
Cannon-Grant, 41, is the founder of Violence in Boston and was previously named “Bostonian of the Year” by Boston Globe Magazine.