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May 18, 2022
 
Founders of Boston Nonprofit Plead Not Guilty to Fraud

March 31, 2022 — The founders of Violence in Boston, a Boston-based nonprofit that works to reduce violence and related trauma to people living in underserved communities, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to federal charges that they defrauded the nonprofit, its donors, and others.

Monica Cannon-Grant, 41, and her husband Clark Grant, 38, both of Taunton, were arraigned via Zoom before U.S. Magistrate Judge Judith Dein on an 18-count indictment that included 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 Boston Globe reported.

According to the report, “During a 10-minute hearing, Assistant US Attorney Adam Deitch told the judge that the government’s case against the couple is ‘complex’ and involves a ‘massive’ amount of evidence, including substantial electronic records, an apparent reference to financial transactions, e-mails, and texts gathered during the investigation.”

Dein reportedly scheduled a status hearing for May 23.

Dein released Cannon-Grant’s on personal recognizance after her arrest and told her she may continue to work for her nonprofit, which runs a food pantry two days a week, but cannot handle the organization’s finances, The Globe reported.

On Tuesday, Dein reportedly told Grant that as a condition of his bail he is also prohibited for handling any financial transactions related to the nonprofit.

Robert Goldstein, an attorney representing Cannon-Grant, said, “VIB [Violence in Boston] and Monica have been fully cooperating and their production of records remains ongoing. Drawing conclusions from an incomplete factual record does not represent the fair and fully informed process a citizen deserves from its government, especially someone like Monica who has worked tirelessly on behalf of her community. We remain fully confident Monica will be vindicated when a complete factual record emerges,” The Globe reported.

Cannon-Grant, the CEO of Violence in Boston (VIB), was arrested two weeks ago. Her husband, a founding director of VIB, was charged by criminal complaint last October with one count of wire fraud and one count of false statements on a loan and credit application, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s office, the pair 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 U.S. Attorney’s office alleged, “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.”

In addition, the U.S. Attorney’s office said, the defendants allegedly conspired to defraud the Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance by collecting Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits.

VIB was founded in 2017 and today is based in Boston’s Hyde Park neighborhood. According to its website, it aims to be “a one-stop shop for comprehensive victim services.”

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