A man in Ohio was arrested Friday after federal officials say he posed as a Black Lives Matter leader and used more than $200,000 in donations to a fake non-profit on myriad items, including a home, suits and guns.
Investigators said actor and activist Sir Maejor Page, also known as Tyree Conyers-Page, 32, created social media and GoFundMe pages under the name Black Lives Matter of Greater Atlanta (BLMGA), indicating that it was non-profit, according to an FBI news release.
A bank account was set up for BLMGA in 2018, with Page as the sole signatory, the FBI said.
The amount of money in the bank account never exceeded $5,000 until June 2020 when BLMGA’s social media page saw a huge influx of donations following the death of George Floyd at the end of May.
Floyd died while in police custody on May 25, and his death sparked an avalanche of protests across the nation. Four officers have been charged in his death.
In June, the BLMGA page received $36,493.80 in donations, followed by $370,933.69 in July and $59,914.69 in August, the FBI said.
The money was transferred from the social media platform to Page’s BLMGA bank account, according to the FBI.
During that time, Page responded to several social media messages that the donations would be used to fight for Floyd and that none of “the funds have been used for personal items. All movement related,” according to the FBI.
But in June, July and August, federal officials allege that Page used a debit card tied to the bank account to buy tailored suits and other clothing, furniture and a home security system, as well as to make dining and entertainment purchases.
On Aug. 21, Page used about $112,000 from the account to purchase a home and adjacent vacant lot in Toledo, the FBI said. Page is accused of trying to conceal the purchase in a non-disclosure agreement that stated the transaction was entered “by and between Hi Frequency Ohio via Sir Maejor Page” and the seller’s agent, the FBI said.
In September, Page also transferred money from the BLMGA account to his personal bank account to buy a pistol and two other guns, according to federal officials.
In videos and livestreams on Page’s social media account, he could be heard “boasting” about his money, suits, cuff links and “$150 ties,” the FBI said.
All in all, officials said Page spent more than $200,000 in donations on personal items, “with no identifiable purchase or expenditure for social or racial justice.”
He was arrested in Toledo on Friday and federally charged with wire fraud and two counts of money laundering, the FBI said. The investigation is ongoing.
In a statement to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, GoFundMe said Page was banned from the platform and that all pages associated with BLMGA were removed.
“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 said. “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.”