BOSTON (WHDH) - The founders of the local nonprofit Violence in Boston are accused of defrauding donors and grant issuers, the Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance, and a mortgage lending business.
Monica Cannon-Grant, 41, and her husband Clark Grant, 38, both of Taunton, were charged in an 18-count indictment with 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 business, the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Mass. announced Tuesday. The indictment also charges Cannon-Grant with one count of mail fraud.
Cannon-Grant was arrested Tuesday morning and later appeared in federal court in Boston.
Grant, who is Cannon-Grant’s husband, had previously been charged by criminal complaint in October 2021 with one count of false statements on a loan and credit application, the attorney’s office said. He is slated to be arraigned at a later date.
Cannon-Grant is the founder and CEO of VIB, an anti-violence nonprofit formally established in 2017, while Grant is a founding director of VIB, the attorney’s office said.
The couple allegedly conspired to use VIB as a vehicle to solicit and receive charitable contributions from institutional and individual donors that they then used for a wide range of personal expenses and to enrich themselves while concealing such expenditures from VIB directors, officers, and others.
From 2017 through at least 2020, the indictment alleges that Cannon-Grant and Grant exercised exclusive control over VIB financial accounts and diverted VIB money to themselves through cash withdrawals, cashed checks, debit purchases, and transfers to their personal bank accounts.
On multiple occasions between 2017 through 2021, the attorney’s office says Cannon-Grant applied for public and private funded grants and donations, stating that the funds were to be used for VIB charitable purposes. However, the couple allegedly used grant and donation money to pay for personal expenses including, hotel reservations, groceries, gas, car rentals, auto repairs, Uber rides, restaurants, food deliveries, nail salons, and personal travel.
The couple did not disclose to other VIB directors, VIB’s bookkeepers, or financial auditors that they had used VIB funds for personal expenses, the attorney’s office said.
Cannon-Grant and Grant also conspired to defraud the Mass. DUA by collecting Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits while at the same time collecting income from a variety of sources, including VIB funds utilized for Cannon-Grant and Grant’s personal expenses, consulting fees paid to Cannon-Grant, compensation paid directly by VIB to Cannon-Grant, and the annual salary paid to Grant by his employer for his full-time job, the attorney’s office added.
The indictment alleges that beginning around May 2020 through 2021, the couple fraudulently applied for PUA benefits that they knew they were not eligible to receive. They allegedly coordinated the submission of false online applications and certifications for PUA funds, concealed their income, used the fraudulently obtained PUA funds to pay for their joint household expenses and other personal expenditures, and created and submitted phony documentation in order to continue receiving weekly PUA COVID-19 benefits.
Additionally, the couple conspired to defraud an Illinois-based mortgage lender when applying for a home mortgage loan in July 2021, the attorney’s office said. Around May 2021 through July 2021, Grant and Cannon-Grant allegedly submitted to the mortgage lender false information and fraudulent documentation that represented VIB assets as personal assets and concealed the fraudulent nature of Grant’s PUA income, as well as the fraudulent nature of gift funds Grant received in order to help pay for mortgage fees and closing costs.
Anyone with further information regarding this case is asked to call the attorney’s office at 617-748-3663.
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