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Hajia4Real faces a possible 95-year jail term in US

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Mona Faiz Montrage, a popular Ghanaian socialite and influencer known as Hajia 4Real, could spend the rest of her life behind bars in the United States for her role in a multimillion-dollar romance scam that targeted lonely and elderly Americans.

According to a statement by the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York on May 15, 2023, Hajia 4Real was part of a criminal network based in West Africa that used fake identities and online platforms to lure victims into believing they were in romantic relationships with them and then extorted money from them under various false pretenses.

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Some of the excuses used by the scammers to get money from the victims included payments for transporting gold from overseas, payments for resolving a fabricated FBI investigation, and payments for assisting a fictitious US Army officer in Afghanistan.

Hajia 4Real allegedly received over $2 million from several victims of the scam and even pretended to marry one of them by sending a tribal marriage certificate after phone conversations using her real name.

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Southern District of New York | Prominent Ghanaian Influencer Charged for Role in Romance Scheme and Extrad… by The Independent Ghana on Scribd

She also opened a bank account in the name of 4Reall Designs, a purported clothing company, to launder the stolen money to other members of the conspiracy.

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Hajia 4Real, who has 4.2 million followers (at the time of this report) on her Instagram page, was reportedly arrested in the United Kingdom on November 10, 2022, and extradited to the US on May 12, 2023.

She appeared in Manhattan federal court on Monday and pleaded not guilty to the charges.

She is charged with one count each of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, money laundering conspiracy, money laundering, receipt of stolen money, and conspiracy to receive stolen money.

Each of these counts carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, except for the last two counts which carry a maximum sentence of 10 years and five years respectively. This means that Hajia 4Real could face up to 95 years in prison if convicted.

However, the actual sentence will be determined by a judge and may vary from the statutory maximum. Hajia 4Real is expected to be released on home detention to her aunt’s residence in New Jersey on $500,000 bond with GPS monitoring via an ankle monitor.

Manhattan US Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement: “As alleged, Hajia 4Real was a member of a criminal conspiracy that specifically targeted older Americans through romance scams.

These scams can be both financially and emotionally devastating for vulnerable victims. Thanks to the efforts of our law enforcement partners, she was arrested abroad and has been brought to the United States to face justice.”

Hajia 4Real is known for her lavish lifestyle and flaunting her expensive cars and houses on social media.

Some reports claim that she may have acquired these assets through her romance scam.

Source: The Independent Ghana


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