A prominent Ghanaian social media influencer, Mona Faiz Montrage also known as Hajia4Reall has been extradited from the United Kingdom to the US to face criminal charges.
She is facing charges for allegedly swindling over $2 million from older, single American men and women, federal prosecutors said on Monday.
Montrage, 30, appeared in Manhattan federal court on Monday over these charges. She is alleged to be involved in a series of romance schemes targeting older people who lived alone.
According to prosecutors, the influencer pleaded not guilty to the charges and would be released on home detention in New Jersey on $500,000 bond.
She would be under GPS tracking via an ankle monitor at her Auntie’s residence, her lawyer and the prosecutor’s office told the media.
How she committed the crime
Hajia4Reall was involved with a group of con artists from West Africa who assumed fake identities to trick people into thinking they were in relationships with them using emails, texts and social media messages.
The scammers would then get the victims to transfer money to them under false pretenses — such as to help move gold to the US from overseas, to resolve bogus FBI investigations and payments to help fake US Army officers in Afghanistan.
Hajia4Reall, in one case, allegedly duped a victim into sending her $89,000 through 82 wire transfers on the pretext of helping her father’s farm in Ghana..
She tricked the person into believing the pair were married by sending them a tribal marriage certificate after a series of phone conversations using her real identity, the filing alleges.
Hajia4Reall also received money from several others who were swindled by scammers in her network.
In total, Montrage netted $2 million in funds the group ripped off from victims to bank accounts she had in the Bronx and elsewhere, including one opened in the name of 4Reall Designs, a supposed clothing company.
She then allegedly laundered the stolen money to other members of the enterprise, the indictment charges.
— Isaac Kaledzi (@IsaacKaledzi) May 15, 2023
Source: Africafeeds.com with extra reporting by New York Post