Community activist Monica Cannon-Grant, known locally for leading a Town Common rally last year following the death of Hopkinton teenager Mikayla Miller, pleaded not guilty Tuesday at her arraignment in Boston federal court on fraud and conspiracy charges.
Cannon-Grant and her husband, Clark Grant, are accused of defrauding donors to Violence in Boston (VIB), the nonprofit Cannon-Grant founded and runs, by using donations for personal expenses. They also are accused of fraudulently obtaining pandemic-related unemployment benefits and making false statements to a mortgage lender.
According to the federal indictment filed March 14, Violence in Boston took in more than $1 million in donations and grants between 2017-21, and the couple “diverted VIB monies to themselves through cash withdrawals, cashed checks, wire transfers to their personal bank accounts and debit purchases, among other methods.”
Cannon-Grant and Grant entered not guilty pleas to all 18 counts. A status hearing is scheduled for May 23.
“VIB and Monica have been fully cooperating and their production of records remains ongoing,” Cannon-Grant’s attorney, Rob Goldstein, said in a statement when Cannon-Grant was arrested earlier this month. “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.”
Cannon-Grant was critical of the investigation into Miller’s death and called for the resignation of Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan, whose office determined the death to be a suicide. Cannon-Grant raised funds to cover an independent autopsy for Miller, although those results have yet to be released or discussed publicly.