A federal indictment alleges that a prominent Boston Black Lives Matter leader and her husband have committed fraud after using a $6,000 grant to take at-risk youth to a Philadelphia retreat on themselves. The couple allegedly used the money for a getaway to Maryland, restaurants, and shopping sprees, among other things.
In an 18-count federal indictment, including charges for wire fraud and making false statements to a mortgage lending business, Monica Cannon-Grant, 41, founder of the nonprofit Violence in Boston, and her husband Clark Grant, 38, were charged Tuesday.
The Boston Globe reported the activist was given a check, in June of 2019, for $6,000 for a trip to Philly “to give these young men exposure to communities outside of the violence-riddled neighborhoods that they navigate daily.”
The feds allege the couple used the money to take a vacation to Maryland, eat at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Shake Shack, and other eateries, pay for car rentals, Walmart purchases, and visits to a nail salon.
According to the indictment, the couple is charged with three separate schemes, defrauding donors, lying on a mortgage application, and illegally collecting about $100,000 in pandemic unemployment benefits, stated the Globe.
After a raid at the couple’s Taunton home last year, the news outlet reported that the feds charged Clark Grant for allegedly engaging in pandemic-assistance fraud.
The Globe said Cannon-Grant was arrested, on Tuesday, at her home on charges that the couple raised over $1 million in grants and donations for people in need, but took a large amount of it for themselves.
Officials said the couple allegedly used some money to make rent payments on their Boston apartment and purchase a car for a relative.
Her attorney, Robert Goldstein, said in a statement that “we are extremely disappointed the government rushed to judgment here.”
“(Violence in Boston) 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,” he said.
“We remain fully confident Monica will be vindicated when a complete factual record emerges,” the lawyer added.
One of her many supporters, Donald Osgood, said the charges did not change his feelings.
“My opinion stands as I know her work,” he told the Globe in an email. “She has helped way too many people, and innocent until proven guilty is the American way.
“She has provided food, Ubers, hotels to many of the clients she served since doing this work. A lot of the things she’s done for the community were out of pocket expenses and others chipping in. Let’s see where this goes. I still have faith in her work which she continues to do even under these circumstances,” Osgood added.
Suffolk District Attorney Kevin Hayden’s spokesman Jim Borghesani told the Globe that “this is a disturbing violation of the public trust and should not reflect on the organizations that used asset forfeiture funds for their intended purpose.”