The FBI has arrested the founder of Black Lives Matter of Greater Atlanta on fraud and money laundering charges.
In 2016, Sir Maejor Page, 32, founded the Black Lives Matter of Greater Atlanta (BLMGA). And in 2018, he opened a bank account with himself as the only signatory.
The balance in the account never exceeded $5,000 until May 2020—at one point, it had an overdraft of $12.42.
But then donations skyrocketed.
In June 2020, BLMGA social media page received about $36,493.80 in donations. And in July, it received approximately $370,933.69 in donations. While in August, the group received an additional $59,914.69 in donations.
All of the money was then transferred to the bank account titled, 'Black Lives Matter of Greater Atlanta' which Page operated.
Furniture and Cufflinks
While the group had reported that the donations would go to 'support the BLM movement,' the FBI found that Page had been using the contribution for personal expenses.
The FBI found that Page's personal purchases included a security system that cost $1,310 and tailored suits and accessories totaling $2,065. He also bought furniture totaling more than $12,000.
Other personal expenses include Walmart purchases totaling more than $4,000 and Home Depot charges of $2,125.67.
According to the New York Times, Page had also 'appeared on social media wearing tailored suits with cuff links and ties that he bragged had cost $150.'
He also stayed in luxury hotel rooms.
He recently boasted:
My room way up at the top. At the top top.
Also, Page used $112,000 of the donated money to purchase a house for himself in Toledo, Ohio.
FBI agent Matthew Desorbo said:
In sum, Page has spent over $200,000 on personal items generated from donations received through the BLMGA Facebook page.
Fraudsters always find ways
FBI then arrested Page after unidentified activists filed a complaint concerning the donations. And federal prosecutors charged Page with one count of wire fraud and two counts of money laundering.
Commenting on the case, Justin Herdman, the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, said:
We always work diligently to ensure that people do not scam their way into financial windfalls by playing off of the public's emotions or fears.
This case is alleged to be one more example of something we have sadly seen over and over again.
Whether it relates to the global pandemic or schemes targeting the elderly—there is no cause, no tragedy, and no event that fraudsters won't seek to exploit.
The court later released Page on $10,000 bail.
After the news of Page's arrest surfaced, GoFundMe said that anyone who donated to the Black Lives Matter Greater Atlanta campaign can request a refund.
The crowdfunding company also banned Page from the platform and then removed the BLMGA campaign.