Last week, a federal grand jury in Cleveland indicted Sir Maejor Page, a Black Lives Matter movement leader in Atlanta, on defrauding donors out of hundreds of thousands of dollars and then spending a “substantial portion” of the donations on personal luxuries, including a house and a prostitute.
Page, who allegedly runs a Facebook page called “Black Lives Matter of Greater Atlanta”, was specifically indicted on three counts of money laundering and one count of wire fraud after using the Facebook page to raise more than $450,000 from donors despite the IRS revoking its tax-exempt charity status.
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“These allegations involve fraudulent misrepresentations that the donations received would support Black Lives Matter (Atlanta, Georgia) when, as stated in the indictment, those funds were actually used by the defendant for personal expenses he incurred in Toledo and elsewhere,” Acting U.S. Attorney Bridget M. Brennan said in a DOJ press release. “It is our sincere hope that these charges help raise awareness about online scams and efforts by some to exploit the name and purpose of non-profit organizations for personal gain.”
While Page claimed to have been using the page to raise money to fight for racial and social justice, much of the money from donors went to “entertainment, hotel rooms, clothing and firearms,” as well as a home in Toledo, Ohio, and paying a prostitute.
Since Page registered the organization’s name with the Georgia Secretary of State Corporation’s Division in 2016, Facebook recognized BLMGA as a valid charity and allowed users to make donations until May of 2019 when IRS revoked BLMGA’s tax-exempt status after Page failed to submit the proper paperwork for three years in a row. Even after losing the tax-exempt status, Page continued to accept donations through the page.
“Page is accused of using unprecedented tensions and uncertainty due to widespread civil unrest and a global pandemic to fill his own bank account,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Eric B. Smith said in the press release. “Page allegedly purchased homes, traveled, and spent other people’s money to buy luxury items for himself, all on the backs of hardworking people believing they were donating to a worthy cause. The FBI will continue efforts to root out fraudsters who victimize our fellow citizens for personal gain.”