Federal prosecutors announced on Monday May 15, that Ghanaian social media influencer Mona Faiz Montrage, more commonly referred to as Hajia4Reall, had been extradited from the United Kingdom to the United States for allegedly swindling over $2 million from older, single American men and women in a twisted lonely romance scam.
According to prosecutors, Mona Faiz Montrage, aged 30, from Accra, Ghana, appeared in federal court on Monday for her alleged involvement in a series of romance schemes aimed at elderly single people.
She argued not guilty to the charges and is set to be released before long on $500,000 bond with GPS tracking through a ankle monitor, her attorney affirmed to The Post.
Montrage, who had around 3.4 million Instagram followers of her page from something like 2013 through 2019 was engaged with a group of scalawags from West Africa who expected counterfeit characters to fool individuals into thinking they were involved with them using messages, emails and social media, the federal authorities said.
According to court papers, the con artists would then convince the victims to send them money under false pretenses, such as to help move gold to the United States from overseas, resolve fictitious FBI investigations, or provide assistance to fictitious US Army officers in Afghanistan.
According to court documents, Montrage allegedly tricked a victim in one case into sending her $89,000 through 82 wire transfers under the ruse that he would assist her father’s Ghanaian farm.
After a series of phone conversations under her real name, the filing claims that she sent the person a tribal marriage certificate to fool them into thinking the couple were married.
Montrage additionally got cash from a few other people who were cheated by tricksters in her organization, investigators said.
In total, the group stole $2 million from victims and transferred it to Montrage’s bank accounts in the Bronx and elsewhere, including one she opened under the fictitious name of 4Reall Designs, a clothing company.
She then purportedly laundered the taken cash to different individuals from the undertaking, the prosecution charges.
“As alleged, Mona Faiz Montrage was a member of a criminal conspiracy that specifically targeted older Americans through romance scams,” Manhattan US Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement. “These scams can be both financially and emotionally devastating for vulnerable victims.”
“Thanks to the efforts of our law enforcement partners, Montrage was arrested abroad and has been brought to the United States to face justice,” the statement continued.
The social media influencer, whose Instagram account ranked among the top ten most followed in Ghana, was detained on November 10, 2022, in the United Kingdom, and brought to the United States on Friday for the alleged conspiracy.
Montrage faces charges of conspiracy, money laundering, receiving stolen funds, and wire fraud. If she is found guilty of the main charge, she could spend up to 20 years in prison.
Montrage’s legal counselor Adam Cortez told The Post:
” At this time, all we know is that there are six alleged victims, but only two of them claim to have dealt with Ms. Montrage, and only one of them says he did.
Cortez stated that he could not comment further until prosecutors provided him with additional information and evidence.
The legal counselor said that his client can go in certain parts of New York and New Jersey forthcoming her case.