Hajia4Real Pleads Guilty To Romance Scam, Set To Face Up To 5 Years In Jail

On Wednesday, February 21, 2024, Mona Faiz Montrage, popularly known as Hajia4Real, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sarah L. Cave to conspiracy charges related to her involvement in laundering the proceeds of romance scams. The scams, orchestrated by a criminal enterprise based in West Africa, targeted vulnerable individuals, predominantly older men and women living alone in the U.S.

Operating from around 2013 to 2019, Montrage and her associates within the enterprise utilized various means, including emails, text messages, and social media, to deceive victims into believing they were engaged in romantic relationships. Once trust was established, victims were coerced into transferring money to bank accounts controlled by the perpetrators, under false pretenses.

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Montrage, known as an influencer in Ghana under the Instagram username “Hajia4Reall,” received funds from several victims who fell prey to the romance scams. The fraudulent inducements for these transfers included promises to transport gold, resolve fake FBI investigations, and assist a fictitious U.S. Army officer in accessing funds from Afghanistan.

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In total, Montrage managed bank accounts that received over $2 million in illicit proceeds from the criminal enterprise. She faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and has agreed to forfeit $2,164,758.41 in addition to making restitution in the same amount. Sentencing will be determined by U.S. District Judge Paul A. Crotty.

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The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) received commendation for their efforts in the case, which is being prosecuted by the Office’s Complex Frauds and Cybercrime Unit, led by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mitzi Steiner and Kevin Mead.

Source: Kingaziz.com