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Founder of Boston anti-violence group charged with fraud along with husband, already facing charges

A federal grand jury has indicted Monica Cannon-Grant, founder of Violence in Boston on charges that include sucking money out of the non-profit, defrauding the state pandemic unemployment system and lying to a mortgage lender, the US Attorney's office reports.

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 indictment also charges Cannon-Grant with one count of mail fraud.

Clark Grant had been charged last October on a smaller number of charges of unemployment and mortgage fraud.

Cannon-Grant was arrested this morning, according to the US Attorney's office, which e-mailed copies of the indictment against her and her husband before the case had been unsealed by a judge in US District Court in Boston.

Cannon-Grant started Violence in Boston in 2017 and since raised a total of $1 million in contributions from individuals and grants from institutions and the government to combat violence and aid community causes - for example, through a food pantry at its headquarters on River Street in Hyde Park, which it obtained with the help of the Walsh administration.

The feds charge that Cannon-Grant and Grant told people they were doing the work for free when, in fact, she withdrew "a substantial amount" of money from the charity's Bank of America and PayPal accounts for their personal life - and that they tried to conceal those withdrawals from the group's bookkeeper and auditors - and from state and federal agencies.

[I]t is alleged that Cannon-Grant and Grant used 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 defendants did not disclose to other VIB directors or VIB’s bookkeepers or financial auditors that they had used VIB funds for such payments.

The indictment says this started from the beginning of the group: When a local department store agreed to donate $10,400 in 2017 to buy food for needy BPS schoolchildren, Cannon-Grant allegedly told it to issue the check to a supposed church in Virginia, which then made out a check to "Monica Cannon/Violence
in Boston" and sent it to her. She deposited it in her personal bank account, which at the time was empty, then, when it cleared, withdrew $3,111 in money orders to pay her own personal back rent on a Boston apartment, the indictment alleges. Meanwhile, she never noted the department store's donation in Violence in Boston's books, allegedly.

Two years later, the indictment continues, an unnamed Massachusetts District Attorney gave the group a $6,000 to pay for ten "at risk" young men and two youth workers to attend a violence-reduction workshop in Philadelphia. In fact:

July 2019 VIB Bank Account records showed that CANNON-GRANT and CLARK GRANT used the $6,000 MDAO check to pay for, among other things, $145 at a Boston nail salon; over $400 in grocery and Walmart purchases in Columbia, MD; hundreds of dollars in meal costs in Connecticut, New Jersey, and Maryland, including at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Shake Shack, and other restaurants; $1,211 in charges at the Sonesta Suites, Columbia, MD; hundreds of dollars in fuel, parking, and car rental costs; and hundreds of dollars in ATM withdrawals. By July 31, 2019, the VIB Bank Account had a negative balance of -$552.38.

Missing from the records: Any indication anybody had actually gone to Philadelphia for a workshop.

Also, the US Attorney's office says:

The defendants also allegedly conspired to defraud the Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) by collecting Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) 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. According to the indictment, beginning in or about May 2020 through 2021, Grant and Cannon-Grant fraudulently applied for PUA benefits, created by Congress in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, that they knew they were not eligible to receive. 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.

Grant has previously been charged with obtaining pandemic unemployment insurance even as he was working fulltime for commuter-rail operator Keolis.

The indictment also alleges the couple used Violence in Boston revenue to obtain a mortgage on a home in Taunton. Grant had earlier been charged with doing this after he was initially rejected for the mortgage because he only had $1,000 in his own bank account at the time.

Complete indictment (16.9M PDF).

Innocent, etc.

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Comments

It's jealous black people and racist white people who are out to get her because she has become so successful. She is a piece of work.

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Voting closed 130

Didn’t a former administration grant her a city-owned building gratis to carry out her ‘community service’?
Can we have that back, please?

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Voting closed 46

Sounds like a sound byte from some members of the city council.

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Voting closed 16

if that was Rachael Rollins, will she have to recuse herself somehow from this case now that her office is prosecuting it?

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Voting closed 49

And Yes.
I dont know her personally but know someone who does and they say they wouldn't give her money for a cup of coffee, she had grifter written all over her, Rollins obviously didn't get that vibe from her. .

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Voting closed 79

Federal prosecutors recently subpoenaed the records of the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office, which in 2019 awarded Violence in Boston a $6,000 grant to take local youths on a trip.

That summer, then Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins announced she had awarded $100,000 in grants to 21 nonprofits in all. The money came out of the office’s asset forfeiture fund, money seized in drug or other arrests.

“Our communities are stronger thanks to the dedication of our nonprofits and their staff who work daily to prevent youth violence and substance use and who focus on improving the mental health of our young people in Suffolk County,” Rollins said in a news release at the time.

The federal investigation into Cannon-Grant began while Rollins, who became US Attorney for Massachusetts in January, was the Suffolk district attorney, officials said.

Federal prosecutors subpoenaed e-mails and other records from the asset forfeiture fund, an official said.

In a statement, the office of Suffolk District Attorney Kevin Hayden said, “We are aware of the investigation ... and are cooperating fully.”

“We have suspended all external expenditures from the asset forfeiture fund pending an internal review of procedures and controls,” the statement said.

Under Department of Justice rules, Rollins would probably be recused from the investigation because of the potential conflict of interest.

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Voting closed 42

Asset forfeiture, the gift that keeps on giving. Asset forfeiture gives law enforcement a slush fund for which they are not accountable to the legislature or to much if any oversight of any kind. There are without question circumstances under which assets should be seized upon conviction , but to avoid creating perverse incentives and slush funds, the proceeds should go to the general fund and not to the particular agency that seized those assets.

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Voting closed 54

hardy har har post came up while i was submitting mine.

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Voting closed 16

My first question: How the giving office of the department store saw nothing suspicious in being asked to direct a $10K "local" donation to a Virginia church? Which leads to the question of the church's involvement.

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Voting closed 62

I assume.
And they didn't want to be accused of not trusting her, she had awards and accolades so who could blame them?

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Voting closed 24

The Globe in particular should be ashamed of its uncritical reporting on MCG.

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Voting closed 54

Why? Were they supposed to see into the future?

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Voting closed 20

And the Globe refused to acknowledge or report them The Globe propped her up and gave her legitimacy.

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Voting closed 22

Thanks to greed, Monica and her husband have empowered every single Archie Bunker on Facebook to accuse every non-profit, progressive, activist, and POC in the city of being in on this, or supporting it. The comments on the TV news sites are revolting.

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Voting closed 67

That is, unfortunately, the way this kind of thing works. It shouldn’t be that way, but it is. Abuses by members of the dominant group are excused… “a few bad apples; they aren’t representative of the larger group.” Abuses by members of a minority group are emphasized and amplified: “they’re all that way.”

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Voting closed 57

You certainly have a unique interpretation of things.

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Voting closed 38

When a person belittles an event by attempting to draw false conclusions to label others as the aggressors, they are being apologetic for those committing the crimes.

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Voting closed 55

Perhaps we should all be asking ourselves how the Boston Globe and Boston Magazine actually named this person Bostonian of the year and the city’s best social justice advocate, even after posting racist diatribes on the internet.

I believe it’s called losing credibility.

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Voting closed 86

Because it wasn't yet known that she was stealing, obviously.

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Voting closed 18

now can you point to where anyone did what you described?

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Voting closed 24

Where the person writes they are more offended by online comments on news sites than they are by the the actual criminals committing crimes. These scary online Archie bunkers or something like that.

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Voting closed 27

a bit, eh? sorry you couldn’t make your point with the actual text of their comment.

otoh, if you want proof of the truth of what that commenter said, ask yourself a question: where is the “are we sure this person is actually racist” crowd?

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Voting closed 22

Attack!

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Voting closed 21

if you call my light scrutiny an attack then i have no idea how you manage to function off of the internet

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Voting closed 20

And yet still true. I did use the words in their comment. Now the question is why are you apologizing for the apologist?

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Voting closed 17

You seem confused about what the word "belittles" means, not to mention the nontrivial difference between "apologetic" and "apologist". Maybe use simpler words.

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Voting closed 24

Belittle means to make unimportant, as I intended to use it.

Apologists are apologetic.

I’m sorry for offending you.

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Voting closed 31

Work on your diction, son. It's nothing to be ashamed of.

I’m sorry for offending you.

I'm sorry you're passive aggressive in addition to your other limitations.

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Voting closed 21

So you don’t want honest discourse and want to only attack and don’t accept apologies. Ok. Bye.

You’re part of the problem

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Voting closed 25

save the apologies until after the convict. You do not seem to get how many people have been hurt from this scam. Those who will end up suffering most will include those who the perpetrators were claiming to help. This will make it more difficult going forward for real groups to get funding to make a difference and create opportunities for people, other than enriching themselves at the expense of the community.

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Voting closed 36

Who know her, not a lot of Archie Bunker types but quite a few knew she was a grifter . It was not a secret .

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Voting closed 99

I would never suspect Monica Conman-Grift to be using her organization as a piggy bank for her and her husband's benefit.

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Voting closed 62

after she got caught on an open mike making some statement against interracial marriages. I'm having trouble finding a non-racist source for this (i.e., not Turtleboy or the Boston Herald) but someone else here probably remembers it.

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Voting closed 43

She wasn't caught on an open mic, she posted it herself.
She was proud of it.

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Voting closed 93

it’s perfectly reasonable to source your news from a site that is *not* a racist cess pool? even if it is just for the sake of not donating any clicks?

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Voting closed 35

People and media knew she said this garbage and still propped her up. Disgusting.

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Voting closed 78

"you don't get to talk right now"
What a racist jerk.

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Voting closed 46

And ask for the Bostonian Of The Year Award back?

Do you think the good people at W Towns Magazine, sorry Boston Magazine will ask her to delete this from her CV?

https://www.bostonmagazine.com/best-of-boston-archive/2020/monica-cannon...

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Voting closed 45

That's not what racism means.

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Voting closed 21

she got caught on an open mike making some statement against interracial marriages
she posted a video containing a vile racist, sexist diatribe:

"At some point we're gonna have to have a conversation with black folks who get in a relationship with white folks and then forget that they black. We gonna have to have that conversation. And I know it's gonna f--- with y'all nerves it's gonna be uncomfortable but we're gonna have to have that conversation because if white vagina and white penises jeopardize your melanin then we need you to sit in the back of the classroom and this ain't your part of the show and you don't get to talk right now until you practice some self-love, know your history, and realize where the f--- you came from this ain't your part of the show. We need you to sit in the back.

I need all the people who understand what it is to wake up black regardless of how many educated gang symbols you have at the end of your name, regardless of how close in proximity you are to white supremacy, regardless of how many white penises you ride, and I am mad at you sis, 'cuz if you riding that m-----f----- for a credit score, get you that house, boo, get you your 40 acres..."

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Voting closed 70

I agree that this is hateful but isn't this all of it? This one video has been posted by literally hundreds of different channels and outlets. Is everyone that gave her a pass part of a conspiracy?

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Voting closed 21

I know this site loves the colorblind, post-racist ideology, and likes to think racism against white people is a thing that can exist, but there is actually nothing wrong whatsoever with a person of color discussing the dynamics that lead some folks of color to date and marry white people, which does in fact increase one's proximity to whiteness.

"I wish more people would see and appreciate the beauty and quality we have within our own culture" does not equal "white people are horrible and I am reverse racist toward them." And even if it did, reverse racism isn't a thing, and folks of color have many many good reasons to feel certain ways toward white people and whiteness.

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Voting closed 32

the “imagine if a white person said what she said” comments

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Voting closed 19

The UHub "but muh reverse racism" crowd says it's exactly the same.

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Voting closed 19

discussing the dynamics that lead some folks of color to date and marry white people, which does in fact increase one's proximity to whiteness.

She is telling black people who date and marry non black people they are race traitors,
She is a hateful, angry grifter.
Did you listen to that rant of hers?

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Voting closed 32

Tone-policing a Black woman doesn't look good on you.

I'll give you points for even getting "angry" in there though. Several bingo squares right there.

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Voting closed 24

And her bullshit hits home.
Dont give me that tone policing crap.
Do you know what my Nana would say if I could ask her if she felt melanin adjacent when she married my grandfather? Probably ....girl, shut your mouth.

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Voting closed 37

The sexism/anti-feminism in what MCG said is disgusting. She basically calls out another black woman for being a whore by marrying a white man -- i.e. "get you that house, boo, get you your 40 acres..." Nope, she can't have married for love, it's transactional.

"I wish more people would see and appreciate the beauty and quality we have within our own culture" is not the message of MCG's racist, sexist rant. Saying things like "jeopardize your melanin" approaches the racial purity messages of groups which have rightfully been reviled by society.

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Voting closed 33

Why is a mystery.

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Voting closed 30

more of an observation of how easy it is to excite reactionaries on both sides of the aisle around the prospect of holding a black person to account.

i’ll ask again: where is the “we need to be careful about throwing the term racist around” crowd?

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Voting closed 18

People are calling out an obvious racist, I don't see two sides to her rant.

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Voting closed 25

I am willing to hear new information and it is not reasonable to believe that all of this can be explained away.

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Voting closed 20

Someone paid her 75k for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Consulting, a woman who said a black woman who married a white man is basically a prostitute is in no position to consult on diversity, or anything else.. She had a lucrative grift going ,untill it all fell apart.

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Voting closed 30

Are you willing to hear new information about him, too?

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Voting closed 26

What does that mean?

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Voting closed 18

It'll be interesting if any of the local politicians who were glad to associate themselves with Monica not even 2 years ago are willing to speak up for her now. Namely Mayor Wu, Ayanna et al.

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Voting closed 45

 

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Voting closed 39

the relationship between Cannon-Grant and Rollins went south after her comments about interracial relationships, seeing as Rollins has an Irish-American father and a Barbadian-American mother.

I don't seem to remember anyone rushing to her defense after the Globe story broke either.

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Voting closed 32

It's hard to defend that racist rant of hers, especially when you're from a mixed race family.

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Voting closed 23

Are they victims of some law's unintended consequences?

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Voting closed 31

They make huge ordeals about the residential arrangements of Boston politicians and police city workers yet people can have “Boston based nonprofits” and live outside Boston in their suburban homes paid for by the tax payers

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Voting closed 21

...if it actually goes to trial could create an interesting new wrinkle for the Globe's "A Beautiful Resistance" series. Looking forward to it!

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Voting closed 20