Atlanta-based activist faces federal fraud charges over BLM funds
Credit: File Photo
Sir Maejor Page (middle) was arrested Friday after authorities said he used donations intended for the Black Lives Matter movement to buy tailored suits, guns and a home in Ohio. This 2016 photo shows Page along with then-Mayor Kasim Reed (left) and Police Chief George Turner after Reed met with Black Lives Matter protesters. (AJC File Photo BOB ANDRES / BANDRES@AJC.COM)
An Atlanta-based activist is facing federal wire fraud and money laundering charges after authorities said he spent more than $200,000 in donations intended for the Black Lives Matter movement.
Sir Maejor Page, 32, was arrested Friday after authorities said he used donations for the social justice movement on tailored suits, guns and a home in Ohio.
Page ran a Facebook page called Black Lives Matter of Greater Atlanta and solicited money through a GoFundMe account, the FBI said in a news release.
Between April 2018 and May 2020, the the group’s balance never exceeded $5,000, but donations started pouring in earlier this year after George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police, officials said. Black Lives Matter of Greater Atlanta raised nearly $470,000 between June and August, and the funds were transferred to an account that was owned and operated by Page.
Investigators said Page responded to private messages online, assuring donors their money would be used to fight for George Floyd and that all funds were for “movement-related expenses,” the FBI said.
Between June and August, however, Page is accused of using a debit card linked to the account to buy food, entertainment, tailored suits and a new security system. An investigation was launched after authorities received a complaint that Page was fraudulently using the account to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for himself, officials said.
“Numerous videos and livestream videos were posted to Page’s personal social media pages showing himself in what appeared to be newly purchased clothing, hotel rooms and office space in Atlanta,” the FBI said in its release. “Several audio statements are made by Page in the videos boasting about the money he has, his tailored suits, his nice cufflinks and ‘$150 dollar ties.’”
Page is also accused of spending $112,000 on a home and adjacent lot in Toledo, Ohio, and transferring donations into his personal account to buy a pistol and two rifles earlier this month. In all, the 32-year-old is accused of spending more than $200,000 in donations with “no identifiable purchase or expenditure for social or racial justice,” the FBI said.
Page was arrested Friday morning in Toledo and charged with one count of wire fraud and two counts of money laundering.
In a statement, a spokeswoman for GoFundMe said the company has removed fundraising accounts associated with Page and the Black Lives Matter of Greater Atlanta organization. Page has been banned from using the GoFundMe platform in the future, and refunds are being offered to donors who request them.
“GoFundMe has taken action to ensure you can no longer start a GoFundMe for BLMGA. PayPal has also confirmed BLMGA has been removed from its database,” the statement read. “Campaigns with misuse are very rare, and we take all complaints very seriously. Our team is working with law enforcement and assisting them in the investigation.”