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HomeNewsAfricaGhanaian socialite Hajia4Reall pleads guilty in $2m romance scam case in US

Ghanaian socialite Hajia4Reall pleads guilty in $2m romance scam case in US

Ghanaian socialite, Mona Faiz Montrage, popularly known as Hajia4Reall, has admitted guilt in a $2 million romance scam case, the United States Attorney’s Office stated on Wednesday.

Hajia4Reall pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to receive stolen money, a charge carrying a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

Additionally, she has agreed to forfeit $2,164,758.41 and make restitution in the same amount. Her sentencing is scheduled to be conducted by U.S. District Judge, Paul A. Crotty, at a date yet to be stated.

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, disclosed the guilty plea, emphasizing the seriousness of the crime.

Williams highlighted that Mona Faiz Montrage knowingly accepted money stolen from older Americans through romance scams, and as a consequence, she faces significant legal ramifications.

He underscored the impact of the scam on vulnerable elderly victims who were deceived into believing they had genuine romantic connections online, only to realize they were duped.

“This Office and our law enforcement partners are relentless in bringing fraudsters who target Americans to justice, no matter where they are,” the Attorney added.

Background

Hajia4Reall, the socialite turn musician was extradited to the United States from the United Kingdom over her alleged involvement in a $2 million romance scam locally called ‘sakawa’ targeting older, single Americans, in May 2023.

Prosecutors said she was charged with conspiracy to commit and committing wire fraud and money laundering, each of which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment, xtribeafrica reported.

The Enterprise, they indicated, frequently conducted the romance scams by sending the victims emails, text messages, and social media messages that deceived the victims into believing that they were in romantic relationships with a person who was, in fact, a fake identity assumed by members of the Enterprise.

The prosecution noted that Hajia4Reall received money from several victims of romance frauds whom members of the Enterprise tricked into sending money.

Among the false pretences used to induce victims to send money to Hajia4Reall 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.

In total, Hajia4Reall controlled bank accounts that received over $2 million in fraudulent funds from the Enterprise.

However, the socialite initially pleaded not guilty to all charges in May 2023 and was later released on bail.

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