BOSTON – A Taunton couple is accused of fraudulently using donations to their non-profit for a “wide range of personal expenses” — as well as committing pandemic unemployment fraud and lying on their mortgage application for their Taunton home.
The couple has been indicted by a federal grand jury in connection with a series of alleged schemes designed to defraud the donors of a Boston nonprofit they founded, Violence in Boston, as well as the Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance and a mortgage lender, the Department of Justice said in a written statement Tuesday.
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 in connection with their Taunton home. The indictment also charges Cannon-Grant with one count of mail fraud.
Cannon-Grant was arrested Tuesday morning and was scheduled to make her initial appearance in federal court in Boston Tuesday.
Grant was previously charged by criminal complaint in October 2021 with one count of wire fraud and one count of false statements on a loan and credit application in connection with their Taunton home. An arraignment date for Grant has not yet been scheduled.
Cannon-Grant is the founder and CEO of Violence in Boston, an anti-violence nonprofit formally established in 2017, the stated purpose of which is to reduce violence, raise social awareness and aid community causes in Boston, among other purposes.
She is a prominent Boston activist. Among other honors, she was named 2020 Best Social Justice Advocate by Boston Magazine and a 2020 Bostonian of the Year by the Boston Globe.
Grant is Cannon-Grant’s husband, a founding director of VIB, and until recently a full-time employee for a commuter services company since July 2018.
Two people who shouldn’t get a pass on the Violence in Boston Inc. indictment are Attorney General Maura Healey and U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins — both of whom should have been monitoring VIB founder Monica Cannon-Grant more closely.
The deed for 56 Silver St., a five-bedroom single-family in Taunton, lists Grant and Cannon-Grant as owners. Chicago-based Guaranteed Rate approved a $410,000 mortgage for the couple, despite Grant’s allegedly listing nonprofit assets as his own in the application. According to an affidavit by Department of Labor Special Agent Christina Rosen, he listed a Bank of America account with a balance of $461,549 as his own. The account, however, belonged to the nonprofit.
The mortgage company, while carrying out its due diligence during the application process, discovered the account was owned by the nonprofit, Rosen’s affidavit said. Grant revised his loan application to no longer claim it as an asset and the company later approved the loan.
The indictment alleges that the couple 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.
It’s alleged that Cannon-Grant and Grant used VIB grant and donation 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 couple did not disclose to other VIB directors or VIB’s bookkeepers or financial auditors that they had used VIB funds for such payments, according to the Department of Justice.
They also allegedly conspired to defraud the Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance by collecting Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits while at the same time collecting income from a variety of sources, including VIB funds, 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 defendants 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.
Anyone with information pertaining to this case may contact the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts at 617-748-3663.
Chris Helms contributed to this report.
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