Toledo man, Maejor Page charged with using ‘Black Lives Matter of Greater Atlanta’ Facebook page to defraud donors
(STL.News) Acting U.S. Attorney Bridget M. Brennan announced today that a federal grand jury sitting in Cleveland returned a four-count indictment charging Sir Maejor Page, a.k.a. Tyree Conyers-Page, age 32, of Toledo, Ohio, with three counts of money laundering and one count of wire fraud. It is alleged that the defendant created a 501(c)(3) Facebook page entitled “Black Lives Matter of Greater Atlanta” and later used it to defraud donors out of more than $450,000 after BLMGA’s tax-exempt status as a charity with the IRS was revoked.
“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. “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.”
“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 FBI Special Agent in Charge Eric B. Smith. “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.”
The indictment states that from in or around May 2020 to on or about September 25, 2020, the defendant allegedly devised a scheme to defraud donors by falsely representing that donations to his 501(c)(3), Black Lives Matter of Greater Atlanta, would be used to combat racial and social injustices when in truth, the organization was no longer an established charity and the defendant was using the donations for his personal benefit.
According to the indictment, on or about February 18, 2016, the defendant created the Facebook page entitled Black Lives Matter of Greater Atlanta (“BLMGA”). In March of 2016, the defendant registered BLACK LIVES MATTER OF GREATER ATLANTA INC.” as a 501(c)(3) domestic non-profit corporation with the Georgia Secretary of State Corporation’s Division and assumed the role of President and CEO. Based on the information that the defendant provided, Facebook recognized BLMGA as a valid non-profit organization and allowed users to make donations directly to BLMGA through Facebook.
On or about May 15, 2019, BLMGA’s tax-exempt status as a charity with the IRS was revoked due to failure to submit IRS Form 990 for three consecutive years. On or about August 26, 2019, the Georgia Secretary of State Corporations Division administratively dissolved BLMGA’s non-profit corporation for failure to file necessary paperwork.
It is alleged that the defendant failed to notify Facebook of these revocations or ask that Facebook stop displaying BLMGA as a non-profit organization. As a result, BMLGA’s Facebook page continued to be displayed as a non-profit organization with a donation button through the end of September 2020, and Facebook continued to collect and disperse the purported charity donations on a bi-monthly basis.
To create the false pretense and representation that BLMGA was a legitimate social justice organization, the defendant routinely made posts on BLMGA’s public Facebook page about social and racial issues, including those occurring in Georgia. In addition to falsely representing BLMGA as a legitimate non-profit organization, the defendant is accused of using the BLMGA Facebook handle to privately communicate with other Facebook users and falsely represented that the donations would be used to “fight for George Floyd” and the “movement.” As a result, over one hundred people donated to BLMGA through its Facebook page
It is alleged that the defendant used a substantial portion of the funds donated to BLMGA to buy personal items, including entertainment, hotel rooms, clothing and firearms. The defendant is accused of using the largest sum of funds to purchase a property and the adjoining vacant lot on Glenwood Avenue and Maplewood Avenue in Toledo, Ohio. This property was to be used as a personal residence for the defendant, the indictment states. The defendant allegedly attempted to conceal the purchase of the property by titling it to “Hi Frequency Ohio” and requesting that the seller’s realtor enter into a nondisclosure agreement . This prevented the seller from disclosing that the defendant was the true buyer and that he used BLMGA funds to make the purchase.
An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
If convicted, the defendant’s sentence will be determined by the Court after review of factors unique to this case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record, if any, the defendant’s role in the offense, and the characteristics of the violation.
In all cases, the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum, and in most cases, it will be less than the maximum.
This case was investigated by the Cleveland Division of the FBI – Toledo Resident Agency and the Toledo Police Department. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael Freeman.