Ghanaian Influencer Hajia4Reall Pleads Guilty in $2M Romance Scam Case in U.S.

On Wednesday, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York revealed that Mona Faiz Montrage, a prominent Ghanaian influencer and musician, pled guilty to a series of romantic scams in which she received over $2 million in stolen cash from victims.

Montrage, also known as Hajia4Reall, is a well-known socialite and Instagram influencer. Montrage was once one of Ghana’s top ten most popular Instagram accounts, with over 3 million followers.

Authorities stated that Montrage, 31, was a part of a criminal cell from 2013 to 2019. The West African organization perpetrated fraud, including romance scams, targeting individuals and businesses in the US.

The organization targeted vulnerable older men and women living alone in their romantic frauds, according to a statement. The criminal business’s mode of operation entailed sending their victims emails, text messages, and social media communications that misled them into believing they were romantically linked with someone “who was, in fact, a fake identity assumed by members of the enterprise.”

The group deceived victims into believing they were in a romantic relationship before convincing them to transfer money to bank accounts controlled by members of the Enterprise, according to the statement.

Montrage allegedly earned over $2 million from romance scam victims, who were duped by her collaborators.

“Among the false pretenses used to induce victims to send money to MONTRAGE were payments to transport gold to the U.S. from overseas payments to resolve a fake FBI investigation, and payments to assist a fake U.S. Army officer in receiving funds from Afghanistan,” the statement went on to say.

Authorities further said Montrage was in charge of the bank accounts to which the illicit monies were transferred. The 31-year-old influencer is facing up to five years in jail after pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to receive stolen money.

Montrage has agreed to lose nearly $2 million and make restitution in the same amount.

According to GhanaWeb, the 31-year-old’s defense team stated that her guilty plea does not reflect who she is today.

“In May 2023, Ms. Montrage voluntarily boarded a flight from Heathrow to JFK to face the criminal case in the Southern District of New York,” according to the statement posted on her Instagram profile.

“At that point, she made the first move in ending that chapter of her life. Today, she accepted responsibility for her bank accounts being used to acquire income from illegal activities that terminated in 2019. Ms. Montrage’s plea does not define her as a person and is not representative of who she is today.”

“Ms. Montrage is thankful for the support of her fans, family, and legal team throughout this process,” the statement went on to say.

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