Violence in Boston (VIB), a Boston-based nonprofit that focused on disparities around violence in communities of color, has shut down in the wake of fraud, conspiracy and false statement charges lodged against its founder and CEO, Monica Cannon-Grant, and her husband, Clark Grant, who served as a founding director of VIB.
Both were charged with 13 counts of wire fraud, two counts of wire fraud conspiracy, one count of conspiracy and one count of making false statements to a mortgage-lending business. Cannon-Grant was additionally charged with one count of mail fraud.
Cannon-Grant and her husband are alleged to have diverted more than $1 million in donations and grants to their personal accounts, or to have used the monies for their personal expenses. They also allegedly presented VIB assets as their own when applying for a home mortgage loan and presented themselves as uncompensated executives to donors and state organizations, despite Cannon-Grant having issued herself more than $195,000 in payroll payments.
The two were arraigned on March 29, according to published reports. Both pleaded not guilty to the charges against them.
As of Monday, July 11, Violence in Boston’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts had all been taken down. The organization’s website was similarly emptied, save for a landing page featuring an unsigned statement which read:
Dear Community Members:
I regret to inform you that Violence in Boston Inc. will be suspending
all programs and shutting down, effective immediately.
I can’t speak on whether the decision to dissolve the organization was an easy one to make, as this decision was made by the Violence in Boston board of directors.
If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to the Violence in Boston board.
Those wishing to contact the board were directed to a business entity summary page on the Massachusetts Secretary of State’s website.
The landing page also featured links to two anti-violence organizations and two organizations that provide food.
In late June, a Twitter feed appearing to belong to Cannon-Grant featured a tweet seeking to raise $100 from 800 people for legal fees. The tweet did not mention the nature of the legal fees, but did specify that donated money would “go directly to attorney and not me.”
A website referenced by the Twitter feed (https://www.fightformonica.info/) states that “We, the community, are collecting funds to support Monica and her family as they navigate legal and financial difficulties. 100% of funds donated will go directly to legal fees and to support the family’s needs.” (Emphasis added)
According to the website, Cannon-Grant is “on a current leave of absence” from an unspecified position. Elsewhere on the site she is listed as founder and CEO of Violence in Boston.
In mid-June, the Boston Herald reported evidence discovery had caused 249,000 individual items, including 17,108 registered papers or files, to be released. Attorneys have an Oct. 7 deadline for pre-trial motions ahead of a March 7, 2023 trial date.
As of 2019, Violence in Boston had reported gross receipts of $85,403, had $7,386 in assets and $0 liabilities, according to a posting on GuideStar by Candid. According to court papers, VIB filed its 2017, 2018 and 2019 Form 990-EZs with the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office. GuideStar does not have those filings posted.