Sir Maejor Page released pending trial on federal wire fraud, money laundering charges
Page is accused of using more than $200,000 in funds donated to his organization for personal items.
TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Sir Maejor Page appeared via video conference before a judge in U.S. District Court Friday afternoon, just hours after he was arrested on federal charges of wire fraud and money laundering. Page was arrested during a raid by FBI agents at his home in Toledo. The charges stem from fundraising activity Page was allegedly involved in as part of a non-profit organization he set up and ran over the last four years, and carry hefty maximum sentences (between 10-20 years in jail, and fines between $250,000-500,000 each), though the prosecutor indicated the recommended amount of jail time would likely be much lower.
Following the court appearance, Page was ordered released pending his trial on a $10,000 unsecured bond. In addition to the bond, Page agreed to a series of restrictions, including an order not to use Facebook, engage in fundraising activities, or to open any bank account or line of credit -- without written permission from the court -- for the duration of the proceedings.
According to a press release sent out by the FBI, a complaint was filed with the FBI’s National Threat Operations Center in April alleging Page was fraudulently utilizing a Black Lives Matter non-profit organization by way of misrepresentations and by posing as a Black Lives Matter leader.
According to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court on Friday, Page is accused of using more than $200,000 in donations made to a non-profit organization he set up in 2016 for the purchase of personal items. The organization, Black Lives Matter of Greater Atlanta (BLMGA), was established as a 501(c)(3) non-profit in March of 2016, and Page established himself as the president and CEO of the organization. He also set up a Facebook page for BLMGA, which listed the organization as a non-profit, which allowed the organization to accept donations through Facebook’s platform.
The organization’s tax-exempt status was revoked by the IRS in August of 2019 after the organization failed to submit the necessary paperwork to the agency. Also in August of 2019, BLMGA was dissolved as a non-profit by the Georgia Secretary of State Corporations Division, once again for failure to file paperwork. Despite losing that status, the affidavit claims Page continued to accept donations through the organization’s Facebook page and did not notify the social media platform of the dissolution of its non-profit status.
In June of 2020, the Facebook page received a sudden influx of donations amounting to $36,493.80. In July, the page received approximately $370,933.69, with an additional $59,914.69 donated in August 2020. That money was deposited to a linked account belonging to the organization, to which Page was the sole signatory. According to the court documents, Page made several statements to Facebook users telling them that the funds donated were being used to fight for George Floyd, who was killed by Minneapolis police officers in May.
The FBI says they traced expenditures from the account and discovered that Page used the donations for his own personal use. The complaint outlines several purchases, including a security system which cost $1,310, tailored suits and accessories totaling $2,065, furniture purchases totaling more than $12,000, Walmart purchases totaling more than $4,000, and Home Depot charges of $2,125.67.
The largest purchase listed in the complaint was the home in the 2000 block of Glenwood that was raided on Friday, as well as an adjacent lot, totaling $112,000. That home was purchased in the name of Hi Frequency Ohio, an organization for which Page served as treasurer and general counsel, and which the complaint alleges Page used as cover for the purchase of that property. Page has reportedly listed the address as his personal residence on public documents, including on application forms for the purchase of a pistol and two rifles. According to the documents, Page paid for the firearms using a personal bank account into which he had transferred funds from the BLMGA account.
The documents conclude that “in sum, Page has spent over $200,000 on personal items generated from donations received through BLMGA Facebook page with no identifiable purchase or expenditure for social or racial justice.”
This is considered an ongoing investigation. According to the FBI, no additional information outside of the complaint affidavit will be provided at this time.
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