Hajia4Reall, whose real name is Mona Faiz Montrage, made an appearance in federal court in Manhattan on Monday, following her extradition to the United States.
The Ghanaian social media influencer is facing charges for her alleged involvement in multiple romance scams targeting elderly and single Americans.
According to federal prosecutors, Hajia4Reall, along with a group of con artists from West Africa, allegedly assumed fake identities and used emails, texts, and social media messages to deceive victims into believing they were in romantic relationships. The scammers then persuaded their victims to transfer money under false pretenses, such as assisting with gold transportation, resolving fake FBI investigations, or supporting fake US Army officers in Afghanistan.
Court documents reveal that in one instance, Montrage tricked a victim into sending her $89,000 through 82 wire transfers, claiming the funds would help her father’s farm in Ghana. The prosecution further alleges that she even went as far as sending the victim a tribal marriage certificate to solidify their supposed marital status.
Montrage pleaded not guilty to the charges, and her attorney stated that she would be released on a $500,000 bail with GPS monitoring through an ankle monitor in the coming days.
Manhattan US Attorney Damian Williams emphasized the devastating impact of romance scams on vulnerable victims, stating that Mona Faiz Montrage was part of a criminal conspiracy specifically targeting older Americans. He expressed gratitude for the efforts of law enforcement partners in arresting Montrage abroad and bringing her to the United States to face justice.
Hajia4Reall was arrested in the UK on November 10, 2022, for her alleged involvement in the conspiracy before being extradited to the US. She now faces charges including wire fraud, money laundering, receipt of stolen money, and conspiracy. If convicted on the top charge, she could potentially face up to 20 years in prison.
Adam Cortez, Montrage’s lawyer, commented that they currently have information about six alleged victims, with only two claiming direct involvement with a woman and just one asserting that he dealt specifically with Ms. Montrage.
The details of the case are expected to unfold as the legal proceedings progress.
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