Founder of Boston nonprofit pleads not guilty to misusing funds – Boston News, Weather, Sports

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BOSTON (AP) — A woman who founded a Boston nonprofit that works to reduce violence in the city and help its victims — and her husband — pleaded not guilty Tuesday to using the organization’s funds for personal expenses including hotel stays, restaurant meals, and a trip to a nail salon.

Monica Cannon-Grant, 41, and her husband Clark Grant, 38, of Taunton, were both allowed to remain free without bail after the remote hearing in federal court in Boston.

Cannon-Grant founded Violence in Boston Inc. and has since become an award-winning community activist.

She and her husband were charged in a multi-count indictment earlier this month with wire fraud, conspiracy, and making false statements to a mortgage lending business, prosecutors said. Cannon-Grant also faces a mail fraud count.

The couple diverted a significant portion of the grants to Violence in Boston for their own use, prosecutors said. That included a $6,000 grant that was supposed to be used to take at-risk young men to a retreat in Philadelphia, but was instead used for a vacation to Maryland, including hotels, rental cars and meals out, according to the indictment.

They also fraudulently applied for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits that they knew they were not eligible to receive because they had other sources of income, and lied to a mortgage lender by saying Violence in Boston’s assets were their own to help pay for mortgage fees and closing costs, prosecutors said.

Cannon-Grant’s attorney said prosecutors have “rushed to judgment” in the case.

Grant’s federal public defender declined to comment.

Violence in Boston was founded in 2017 with $1,000, according to its website.

“Violence in Boston’s mission is to improve the quality of life and life outcomes of individuals from underserved communities by reducing the prevalence of violence and the impact of associated trauma while addressing social injustices through advocacy and direct services,” the organization says on its website.

(Copyright (c) 2022 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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