Hi,I'm Zoey and I'll be assisting you. I'm reviewing your question now. Please be patient while I research and compose a reply for you.
This is a scam, and it's very well known.
You were not communicating with your actual Facebook friend, which is why you couldn't contact him. His contact information has been hacked and a scammer is impersonating him to try to get all of his Facebook friends to send money to claim a grant of some sort that doesn't really exist. This is called Facebook account cloning and it has become a serious problem.
You can read more about this fraud here.
The US government doesn't reward its citizens by suddenly giving them thousands of dollars in any form.
You cannot just be handed a government grant. They must be applied for, and the application is pretty elaborate because the grants are difficult to get and hotly contested for. Additionally, private individuals cannot ever get a Federal grant. They are given to organizations and to agencies to fund research and other types of worthy work.
You can see the warning about grant scams from the Federal Trade Commission below.
On the website Grants.gov, which is where one applies to get a real Federal grant, the warning says:
"No government grant-making agency will make phone calls; send email or letters to solicit money or personal banking information from a potential grant recipient.
There are no processing fees for federal grants. Federal grants are not issued for personal use, but are intended for institutions and non-profits to carry out projects with a public purpose."
You need to report this as a crime to your police and also to the FBI. The FBI has a special website for crimes of this kind called their Internet Crime Complaint Center, and you can report it there. That website is IC3.gov.
You also need to contact Facebook about this and get your "friend's" cloned profile taken down. It would also be a good idea to reach out to your friend via normal channels and inform him that his account has been hacked so that he can reach out to his Facebook friends and warn them not to fall for the scam.
If you require additional information, please post your follow up here on this question thread, and I’ll be happy to provide it.
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You're very welcome.
If you've sent money, you can sue the scammer if you can find who and where he really is, but that's a job for law enforcement. However, as the victim of a crime your unreimbursed losses due to that crime are tax deductible. So you'll be able to get some of your money back in the form of a deduction once you file your 2016 taxes.
I'm glad you thought to do that!