The feds have busted the founders of the non-profit organization Violence in Boston for defrauding donors and grant issuers, the Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance and a mortgage lending company, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts.
Federal agents arrested Monica Cannon-Grant, 41, Tuesday morning. A federal grand jury indicted her and her husband, Clark Grant, 38, on two counts of wire fraud conspiracy, one count of conspiracy, 13 counts of wire fraud and one count of making false statements to a mortgage lending company. The indictment also charges Cannon-Grant with one count of mail fraud.
Cannon-Grant will make her initial appearance in federal court in Boston Tuesday. As Live Boston was first to report in October, Clark Grant was arrested in October on one count of wire fraud and one count of false statements on a loan and credit application. His arraignment date has not yet been scheduled.
The indictment alleges the couple conspired to use Violence in Boston as a way to solicit and receive charitable contributions from institutional and individual donors. They then used the money for a wide range of personal expenses and to enrich themselves while concealing such expenditures from the non-profit organization’s directors, officers and others. According to the indictment, from 2017 through at least 2020, the couple exercised exclusive control over the organization’s financial accounts and diverted the money to themselves through cash withdrawals, cashed checks, debit purchases and transfers to their personal bank accounts.
On numerous occasions between 2017 through 2021, Cannon-Grant applied for public and private funded grants and donations in which she represented the money was to be used for Violence in Boston’s charitable purposes, according to the indictment. However, the grand jury found Cannon-Grant and her husband used the money to pay for personal expenses including, among other things, hotel reservations, groceries, gas, car rentals, auto repairs, Uber rides, restaurants, food deliveries, nail salons, and personal travel.
“The defendants did not disclose to other Violence in Boston directors or Violence in Boston’s bookkeepers or financial auditors that they had used Violence in Boston funds for such payments,” according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts.
The indictment also alleges the couple conspired to defraud the Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance by collecting Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits while at the same time collecting income from a variety of sources, including Violence in Boston funds utilized for their personal expenses, consulting fees paid to Cannon-Grant, compensation paid directly by Violence in Boston to Cannon-Grant and the annual salary paid to Grant by his employer for his full-time job at a commuter services company.
According to the indictment, beginning in or about May 2020 through 2021, Grant and Cannon-Grant fraudulently applied for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits they knew they were not eligible to receive. The couple allegedly coordinated the submission of false online applications and certifications for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance funds, concealed their income, used the fraudulently obtained Pandemic Unemployment Assistance funds to pay for their joint household expenses and other personal expenditures and created and submitted phony documentation in order to continue receiving weekly Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits.
Additionally, the indictment alleges the couple conspired to defraud an Illinois-based mortgage lender when applying for a home mortgage loan in July 2021. From in or about May 2021 through July 2021, they submitted to the mortgage lender false information and fraudulent documentation that represented Violence in Boston assets as personal assets and concealed the fraudulent nature of their Pandemic Unemployment Assistance income, as well as the fraudulent nature of gift funds they received in order to help pay for mortgage fees and closing costs.
The charges of wire fraud conspiracy each provide for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, up to three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. The charge of conspiracy provides for a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. The charges of wire fraud each provide for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, up to three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. The charge of making false statements to a mortgage lending business provides for a sentence of up to 30 years in prison, up to five years of supervised release and a fine of up to $1 million. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge.
If you have information pertaining to the crimes alleged against the defendants, call the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts at 617-748-3663.