Full details on the top “Hajia4Real extradited to US in $2M romance scam” that hits on social media not long ago. Mona Faiz Montrage who is widely known as Hajia4Reall on social media has been extradited from the United Kingdom to the United States for allegedly swindling over $2 million from elderly, unmarried American men and women in a twisted lonely hearts scam, federal authorities said Monday.
Mona Faiz Montrage, 30, of Accra, Ghana, appeared in federal court in Manhattan on Monday for her suspected involvement in a series of romance scams aimed at elderly persons who lived alone, according to authorities.
Hajia4Real extradited to US in $2M romance scam
Her lawyer verified to The Post that she pled not guilty to the allegations and would be freed in the coming days on $500,000 bail with GPS tracking through an ankle monitor.
Montrage — who had around 3.4 million Instagram followers of her page Hajia4Reall at one point — from at least 2013 through 2019 was involved with a group of con artists from West Africa who assumed fake identities to trick people into thinking they were in relationships with them using emails, texts and social media messages, the feds said.
The scammers would then get the victims to transfer money to them under false pretenses — such as to help move gold to the US from overseas, to resolve bogus FBI investigations and payments to help fake US Army officers in Afghanistan, court papers allege.
Montrage, in one case, allegedly duped a victim into sending her $89,000 through 82 wire transfers on the pretext of helping her father’s farm in Ghana, the court documents claim.
She tricked the person into believing the pair were married by sending them a tribal marriage certificate after a series of phone conversations using her real identity, the filing alleges.
Montrage also received money from several others who were swindled by scammers in her network, prosecutors allege.
In total, Montrage netted $2 million in funds the group ripped off from victims to bank accounts she had in the Bronx and elsewhere, including one opened in the name of 4Reall Designs, a supposed clothing company.
She then allegedly laundered the stolen money to other members of the enterprise, the indictment charges.
“As alleged, Mona Faiz Montrage was a member of a criminal conspiracy that specifically targeted older Americans through romance scams,” Manhattan US Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement. “These scams can be both financially and emotionally devastating for vulnerable victims.”
“Thanks to the efforts of our law enforcement partners, Montrage was arrested abroad and has been brought to the United States to face justice,” the statement continued.
The social media influencer — whose Instagram account was among the top 10 most followed in Ghana –was arrested on Nov. 10, 2022, in the UK for the alleged conspiracy and brought to the US on Friday.
Montrage is charged with wire fraud, money laundering, receipt of stolen money and conspiracy. She faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted on the top charge.
Montrage’s lawyer Adam Cortez told The Post: “At this time all we know is that there are six alleged victims and only two dealt with a woman and only one of them claims that he dealt with Ms. Montrage.”
Cortez said he couldn’t comment further until he receives more information and evidence from prosecutors.
The lawyer said that his client can only travel in certain parts of New York and New Jersey pending her case.