"Violence in Boston" founder Monica Cannon-Grant and her husband Clark Grant are facing additional fraud charges in connection to schemes to defraud the City of Boston out of COVID-19 relief funds and rental assistance money, federal prosecutors announced.
Cannon-Grant, 42, and Clark Grant, 39, have been charged by a federal grand jury in a 27-count superseding indictment with three counts of wire fraud conspiracy; 17 counts of wire fraud; one count of conspiracy; and one count of making false statements to a mortgage lending business, the U.S. Attorney's Office revealed.
The new wire fraud charges center on alleged schemes to obtain and utilize pandemic assistance funds from the Boston Resiliency Fund for purposes not disclosed to the City, including for their own personal benefit, as well as to fraudulently obtain rental assistance payments from Boston’s Office of Housing Stability.
Cannon-Grant was also charged with mail fraud, filing false tax returns, and failing to file tax returns. Cannon-Grant and Clark Grant were previously charged in an 18-count indictment in March 2022. They will appear in federal court in Boston at a later date. Attorney information was not immediately available.
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According to the superseding indictment returned Thursday, the Taunton couple allegedly conspired to use their anti-violence nonprofit to defraud the Boston Resiliency Fund, a charitable fund established by the City of Boston to provide aid to residents during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Federal prosecutors say the couple received nearly $54,000 in pandemic relief funds and then allegedly withdrew approximately $30,000 in cash from the Violence in Boston bank account -- some of which they allegedly kept. Cannon-Grant and Grant also allegedly used some of the nonprofit's funds to pay their auto loan and auto insurance bills.
The prominent local activists are also accused of conspiring to defraud both Boston’s Office of Housing Stability -- by concealing thousands of dollars of household income in order to obtain $12,600 in rental assistance from the City of Boston -- and the state's Department of Unemployment Assistance -- by submitting a forged employment document so that another family member could receive nearly $44,000 in unemployment assistance.
Federal prosecutors say the total amount of fraudulent unemployment assistance received by the Grants and their co-conspirators is approximately $145,269.
Lastly, the U.S. Attorney's Office alleges that Cannon-Grant filed false tax returns for 2017 and 2018 and that she failed to file tax returns for 2019 and 2020, failing to report tens of thousands of dollars that she received from Violence in Boston and an entity with which she contracted to provide consulting services.
Cannon-Grant’s activism, including the organization of a rally in the city in 2020 to protest the killing of George Floyd and other Black people by police, earned her numerous awards, such as The Boston Globe Magazine’s Bostonian of the Year award and a Boston Celtics Heroes Among Us award, both in 2020.
Violence in Boston was founded in 2017 with the goal of reducing violence, raising social awareness and aiding community causes in Boston. Cannon-Grant was the organization's CEO and founder. Her husband was a founding director and was also a full-time employee for a commuter services company until recently.
According to a pinned post on the nonprofit's Facebook page, Violence in Boston shut down and suspended all programs as of July 6, 2022.
The Grants pleaded not guilty in March 2022 to the original indictment that included defrauding the nonprofit and its donors as well as committing unemployment fraud. Cannon-Grant’s attorney, Robert Goldstein, said last year that prosecutors had “rushed to judgment” in the case.
According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, 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. 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. 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. The charge of filing false tax returns provides for a sentence of up to three years in prison, one year of supervised release and a fine of up to $100,000. The charge of failure to file a tax return provides for a sentence of up to one year of prison, one year of supervised release and a fine of up to $25,000.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.