An Ohio activist was charged Friday with defrauding Black Lives Matter donors out of $450,000, allegedly using a large sum of the funds to purchase a house.
Sir Maejor Page, previously known as Tyree Conyers-Page, is charged with three counts of money laundering and one count of wire fraud after a federal grand jury in Cleveland returned an indictment.
“Page is accused of using unprecedented tensions and uncertainty due to widespread civil unrest and a global pandemic to fill his own bank account,” said Eric B. Smith, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Cleveland field office.
Prosecutors say Mr. Page created and operated a Black Lives Matter of Greater Atlanta (BLMGA) page on Facebook. He registered it as a nonprofit with state and federal officials in 2016, but its tax-exempt status as a charity was revoked in 2019.
BLMGA’s nonprofit corporation was dissolved that year for failure to file the necessary paperwork.
Mr. Page didn’t notify Facebook that his charity tax exemption was revoked and the group remained listed as a nonprofit on Facebook, raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars related to the summer’s civil unrest over the May 25 death of George Floyd, court documents revealed.
Prosecutors say Mr. Page promoted BLMGA as a legitimate social justice organization and routinely made posts on its page about racial and social justice issues in Georgia.
He also used the BLMGA Facebook handle to communicate with supporters and falsely claimed the money would be used to “fight for George Floyd” and “the movement,” court documents revealed.
As a result, over 100 individuals donated to BLMGA through the Facebook page.
Mr. Page is accused of using “a substantial portion” of the funds to buy personal items, including entertainment, hotel rooms, clothing and firearms.
The largest portion was used to purchase a property and adjoining vacant lot, which would be used as a personal residence, prosecutors said.
“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,” said acting U.S. Attorney Bridget M. Brennan of the Northern District of Ohio.
Mr. Page runs Hi-Frequency Ohio, a left-leaning activist organization.