Ghanaian Social Influencer Mona Faiz Montrage popularly called Hajia 4 Real who has been charged by the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), for her role in a series of romance schemes and laundering proceeds of those schemes’ victims’ were allegedly mostly “vulnerable older men and women who lived alone.”
This is according to the Six-count Indictment charging the influencer for her role in a series of romance schemes.
A press release by the by the United States Attorney’s Office Southern District of New York, noted that: “From at least in or about 2013 through in or about 2019, MONTRAGE was a member of a criminal enterprise (the “Enterprise”) based in West Africa that committed a series of frauds against individuals and businesses in the United States, including romance scams.”
Also, “many of the Enterprise’s romance scam victims were vulnerable, older men and women who lived alone. The Enterprise 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 had, in fact, a fake identity assumed by members of the Enterprise.
“Once members of the Enterprise had successfully convinced victims that they were in a romantic relationship and had gained their trust, they convinced the victims, under false pretenses, to transfer money to bank accounts the victims believed were controlled by their romantic interests, when, in fact, the bank accounts were controlled by members of the Enterprise.”
It continued that she, “rose to fame as an influencer through her Instagram profile, under the username “Hajia4Reall,” which at one point had approximately 3.4 million Instagram followers and was among the top 10 profiles with the most followers in Ghana.”
The social influencer allegedly tricked her victims into giving her money to transport gold to the US.
She allegedly “received money from several victims of romance frauds whom members of the Enterprise tricked into sending money. Among the false pretenses used to induce victims to send money to MONTRAGE were (i) payments to transport gold to the United States from overseas; (ii) payments to resolve a fake FBI unemployment investigation; and (iii) payments to assist a fake United States army officer in receiving funds from Afghanistan.”
It revealed that: “As to one victim, MONTRAGE used her real name and spoke to the victim several times by phone. MONTRAGE sent the victim a tribal marriage certificate purporting to show that MONTRAGE and the victim had been married in Ghana.
“The victim sent MONTRAGE approximately 82 wire transfers totaling approximately USD89,000 to purportedly help with costs associated with MONTRAGE’s father’s farm in Ghana.”
The influencer, in total, “controlled bank accounts that received over USD2 million in fraudulent funds from the Enterprise.”