An Atlanta Con Man Raked Up Nearly $500,000 After Launching Fake Black Lives Matter Organization
September 30, 2020 at 1:29 pm
A man who collected donations on behalf of his fraudulent Black Lives Matter organization in Atlanta shamelessly used the funds to pamper himself and upgrade his wardrobe. Amid the nationwide outcry for social justice during the summer, Sir Maejor Page raised $467,342 from donors looking to advance the movement for racial equality, The New York Times reported.
Federal investigators then found out that the money was spent on lavish nights and stylish outfits. The con man left a glaring hint when he went on social media to boast about his tailored suits with cuff links and ties, which he claimed costed $150. His page then showed off his luxury hotel rooms.
“My room way up at the top,” he bragged. “At the top top.”
Investigators also concluded that the Atlanta man spent $112,000 to purchase a house in Toledo, Ohio. The 32-year-old, who is also known as Tyree Conyers-Page, was charged with one count of wire fraud and two counts of money laundering. He was arrested on Friday and released on a $10,000 bail.
Page's fraudulent initiative, known as The Greater Atlanta organization, promoted itself on Facebook during the months of unrest and collected donations through GoFundMe.
“We’ve been blown away by the millions that are coming together to demand justice — for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and countless others who’ve had their lives taken,” the organization stated on social media.
The scammer tried to convince donors in private messages that none of the funds were "used for personal items" and that they'd been "movement related."
Justin Herdman, the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, said authorities are trying to protect people from scammers who are trying to take capitalize on 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," Herdman said in a statement. "There is no cause, no tragedy, and no event that fraudsters won’t seek to exploit.”
Investigators said Page opened a bank account for Black Lives Matter of Greater Atlanta Inc. in 2018 after launching a nonprofit organization in 2016. When he established the organization in 2018, Page only listed himself as the signatory, authorities said.
Investigators found that his bank account, which was overdrawn by $12.42 at one point, was revived after the donations. They saw the evidence when they found a debit card linked to the bank account, which showed expenditures on food, entertainment, furniture and a home security system.
Page's friend, Ron Goolsby, tried to defend the disgraced man, saying the plan was to turn the Toledo house into a shelter for victims of domestic abuse.
“This is all going to be cleared up, for sure,” Goolsby told The Toledo Blade.
According to ABC7, experts are warning the public to watch out for scammers increasingly taking advantage of Black Lives Matter. While some ask for donations, others are using hacking methods to steal people's information.
"Yes, there's a phishing scam going around to vote anonymously for a Black Lives Matter campaign," communications expert Lelani Clark told ABC7. "People are getting tons of these emails and think they're legit. But guess what, they're not."
Clark said these links can infect a person's computer, enabling hackers to steal banking information.
"People want to support causes. People want to support Black Lives Matter. They're not aware that scammers and fraudsters are preying on their good will to turn a profit," Clark said.
Per The New York Times, Black Lives Matter Atlanta clarified that they don't seek money.
“This page will never seek donations," the group wrote in a Facebook post. "This is a grass-roots collective movement to fight for justice for the disenfranchised, and victims of police brutality.”