A Black Lives Matter activist whose Boston nonprofit was shut down in a federal fraud case against her after she allegedly blew up thousands of charity donations for dinners, vacations and nail salon trips is now filing for unemployment benefits.
Monica Cannon-Grant, 41, the former head of the nonprofit Violence in Boston, and her husband Clark Grant, 38, faced federal charges in March for allegedly soliciting millions of dollars in donations following the 2020 killing of George Floyd should use them for their own personal benefit.
They are also accused of illegally collecting an estimated $100,000 in pandemic unemployment benefits and lying on a mortgage application.
In the 18-page indictment, imposed by a federal grand jury in March, terms of Cannon-Grant’s release included that she “does not apply for unemployment benefits or facilitate the application unless she will,” according to Boston approved by the court”. herald.
But on Wednesday, Cannon-Grant’s attorney, Robert Goldstein, filed a motion asking that those terms be amended, stating that Cannon-Grant “is currently unemployed and wants to apply for unemployment benefits.”
Monica Cannon-Grant, 41, pictured at a BLM rally in September 2020, whose anti-violence charity was shut down last month due to a federal fraud case against her, is now applying to apply for unemployment benefits
In an 18-page indictment filed by a federal grand jury in March, terms of Cannon-Grant’s release included that she “not apply for unemployment benefits or facilitate the application unless approved by the court.” “.
Cannon-Grant’s attorney, Robert Goldstein, has just filed a motion to amend those terms, stating that she “is currently unemployed and wishes to file for unemployment benefits.”
“The government has no objection to the defendant’s application for unemployment benefits so long as such application is made in accordance with the law,” Goldstein wrote in the filing.
Once named Bostonian of the Year by the prestigious Boston Globe newspaper, he was released on the basis of personal recognition.
Cannon-Grant and her husband founded the non-profit organization Violence in Boston in 2017, which received widespread attention at the height of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement in 2020.
Following Floyd’s assassination, Cannon-Grant’s subsequent surge in donations transformed BLM Foundation from a small, scrappy movement into a mature institution. Other organizations, such as Cannon-Grant’s Violence in Boston, also saw growth.
The couple retained exclusive control of the organization’s finances and did not disclose to other Boston-based Violence directors, accountants or auditors that they had used the funds for their own purposes, prosecutors added.
In March, the couple were arrested at their $450,000 Taunton residence. It remains unclear if the funds provided to the nonprofit were used to purchase the five-bedroom home, purchased in 2021 at the height of their alleged scam.
Monica Cannon-Grant, 41, (pictured) and her husband Clark Grant, 38, of Taunton, Massachusetts, appeared at their arraignment virtually Tuesday and pleaded not guilty to fraud charges set out in an 18-count indictment earlier this year month
Monica Cannon-Grant is seen in federal court in Boston in March, where she and her husband were charged with 18 counts of fraud totaling $1 million
They were charged with conspiracy to two counts of wire fraud, one count of conspiracy, 13 counts of wire fraud and one count of misrepresentation to a mortgage loan business. Cannon-Grant was also charged with mail fraud. They pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Cannon-Grant is also facing a mail fraud case. She claims to have previously filed with the IRS and the Attorney General’s Charity Division that she did not receive a salary.
However, prosecutors said Cannon-Grant was paying himself $2,788 a week as of October 2020.
The indictment, released in March, details how the activist spent $145 at a nail salon in Boston, over $400 on grocery and Walmart purchases in Columbia, MD, hundreds of dollars in dining expenses in Connecticut, New Jersey and Maryland , including at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Shake Shack and other restaurants; $1,211 in fees at Sonesta Suites, Columbia, MD; hundreds of dollars in fuel, parking, and rental car costs; and hundreds of dollars in ATM withdrawals…’
Cannon-Grant claimed the charity didn’t pay a salary, but the prosecution alleges she paid herself $2,788 a week and took home $25,096 in 2020 and $170,092 last year, the authorities said US Attorney’s Office in a statement.
Cannon Grant, mother of six, was once named Bostonian of the Year by Boston Globe Magazine and hailed as the city’s “Top Social Justice Advocate” by Boston Magazine
Cannon-Grant (R) speaks to protesters about their movement with the photos of people who have lost their lives, including George Floyd, at Franklin Park in Boston, Massachusetts on June 2, 2020 to police racism in the United States
Cannon-Grant also received $33,426 in pandemic funds, the indictment said. She has also received thousands of dollars in consulting fees to promote diversity programs in private companies.
One of those payments included a $75,000 stipend from a Boston media outlet, the television program Phantom Gourmet.
“Unemployment got me in the ass. Asked me to provide documents by June unless I have to pay it all back,” Cannon-Grant texted her husband on March 26, 2021 after realizing she had been arrested, according to prosecutors.
Cannon-Grant, 41, and her husband Clarke Grant, 38, were arrested at their home in Taunton, Massachusetts in March. It’s unclear whether donation funds to Violence in Boston were used to purchase the $450,000 five-bedroom property
The couple also lied to a mortgage banker, saying the violence in Boston’s assets was theirs to pay fees and closing costs. Pictured: the interior of the Grants’ home in Taunton
Cannon-Grant and her husband are said to have embezzled donations to their charity, including a check for $6,000 given to them by Suffolk prosecutors in June 2019, intended for a retreat for young men feared to be at risk of falling into Crime.
The retreat was designed to “allow these young men to connect with communities outside of the violent neighborhoods they travel to every day” and to engage in activities focused on community building and coping skills,” according to their grant application.
Instead, Cannon-Grant and Grant treated to meals at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. and Shake Shack and a three-day trip to Maryland that included a $1,200 hotel stay, sources say.
Cannon-Grant also reportedly used some of the cash for multiple trips to a nail salon in Boston, as well as car rentals, groceries, and trips to Walmart.
In another alleged incident in 2017, $3,000 of a $10,000 donation to children in need was spent paying off the couple’s rent arrears, sources said.
Cannon-Grant and her husband also fraudulently applied for $100,000 in federal pandemic unemployment benefits, which they knew they were not eligible for because they said they had other sources of income at the time.
They also lied to a mortgage lender, saying violence in Boston’s property was their own to pay mortgage fees and closing costs, prosecutors said.
Cannon-Grant also reportedly paid himself $2,700 a week and treated himself to a $450,000 five-bed home in Taunton, Massachusetts
Cannon-Grant has received thousands of dollars in consulting fees by promoting diversity programs, public speaking forums, and public appearances through her link tree
The BLM Foundation has also faced intense scrutiny over the past year for financial transparency, and leaders admitted they were confused about the movement’s finances and leadership over the years.
BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors resigned as chief executive of the Black Lives Matter Global Network last year after her $3.2 million real estate empire came under scrutiny.
The foundation has since opened up on such matters. It says the tax sponsor, who currently manages its money, must approve spending from a collective action fund, which is a board made up of representatives from official BLM chapters.