Mona Faiz Montrage (Hajia 4Real) Pleads Guilty To Receiving FraudulentFunds From Romans Scams.

By A&C Empire Radio

Mona Faiz Montrage (Hajia 4Real)

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, declared today that MONA FAIZ MONTRAGE has pleaded guilty for her involvement in laundering the profits from a sequence of romance scams. MONTRAGE admitted guilt today to a conspiracy charge related to receiving illicit funds before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sarah L. Cave.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “Mona Faiz Montrage knowingly received money stolen from older Americans through romance scams and was arrested abroad and now faces serious consequences for her actions. Romance scams such as Montrage’s harmed her vulnerable, elderly victims not only in the cruel betrayal of trust and the realization that their online romantic connection was fiction, but by also callously stealing their money. This Office and our law enforcement partners are relentless in bringing fraudsters who target Americans to justice, no matter where they are.”

According to the indictment and information presented in public filings and court proceedings:

Between around 2013 and 2019, MONTRAGE was reportedly part of a criminal organization (referred to as the “Enterprise”) based in West Africa. This group carried out a series of fraudulent activities, including romance scams, targeting individuals and businesses in the U.S.

The victims of the Enterprise’s romance scams were often vulnerable, elderly individuals living alone. The Enterprise typically executed these scams by communicating with victims via emails, text messages, and social media messages, deceiving them into believing they were in romantic relationships with individuals who were actually fictitious personas created by members of the Enterprise. After gaining the victims’ trust and convincing them of a romantic relationship, the members of the Enterprise would manipulate the victims into transferring money to bank accounts purportedly belonging to their romantic partners, though these accounts were actually controlled by members of the criminal group.

MONTRAGE, a Ghanaian public figure, gained prominence as an influencer on Instagram under the handle “Hajia4Reall,” amassing approximately 3.4 million followers at one point and ranking among the top 10 profiles in Ghana based on followers.

MONTRAGE accepted funds from multiple victims of romance scams orchestrated by members of the criminal Enterprise. Victims were deceived into sending money to MONTRAGE under various false pretenses, such as payments for transporting gold to the U.S. from overseas, resolving a fictitious FBI investigation, and aiding a counterfeit U.S. Army officer in accessing funds from Afghanistan.

Collectively, MONTRAGE managed bank accounts that received more than $2 million in illicit proceeds from the Enterprise.

At the age of 31 and hailing from Accra, Ghana, MONTRAGE has pleaded guilty to a single charge of conspiracy to receive stolen funds, which carries a maximum penalty of five years’ imprisonment. Additionally, MONTRAGE has agreed to forfeit $2,164,758.41 and provide restitution in the same amount. The sentencing for MONTRAGE is set to be conducted by U.S. District Judge Paul A. Crotty.

The maximum potential sentence outlined in this instance is legislatively mandated and is included here solely for informational purposes, as the ultimate sentencing decision for the defendant will be at the discretion of the judge.

Mr. Williams commended the exceptional efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in this matter.

The prosecution of this case is being overseen by the Office’s Complex Frauds and Cybercrime Unit, with Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mitzi Steiner and Kevin Mead leading the prosecution.

Aftermath

On February 21, 2024, Mona Faiz Montrage (Hajia 4Real) utilized her Instagram account to provide a detailed explanation of the court case proceedings.

She write;

In May 2023, Ms. Montrage voluntarily boarded the flight from Heathrow to JFK to face the criminal case in the Southern District of New York. At that time, she took the first step to closing that chapter of her life. Today, she took responsibility for her bank accounts being used to receive funds from illicit conduct that ended in 2019. Ms. Montrage’s plea does not define her as a person and is not reflective of the individual she is today.
Ms. Montrage is thankful for the support of her fans, family and legal team throughout this process.
Ms. Montrage is represented by Elena Fast, Esq. and Michael Perkins, Esq. of The Fast Law Firm, P.C.

Source: www.justice.gov/usa

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