Prominent socialite Mona 4Reall, also known as Hajia4Real, has been extradited from the United Kingdom to the United States on allegations of her involvement in a local scam called ‘sakawa.’
This fraudulent scheme specifically targeted older, unmarried Americans, resulting in a staggering $2 million in illicit gains.
Born with her legal name Mona Faiz Montrage, the 30-year-old model, appeared before the federal court in Manhattan on Monday, May 15. She stands accused of actively participating in a series of romance schemes that specifically preyed on elderly individuals living in solitude.
Despite the charges brought against her, Mona 4Reall pleaded not guilty. Both her legal representative and the prosecutor’s office have confirmed that she will soon be released on home detention, where she will be required to reside at her aunt’s residence in New Jersey.
As part of her release conditions, she will be monitored via a GPS ankle monitor and must post a $500,000 bond.
Earlier reports regarding her arrest in the United Kingdom on November 10, 2022, as well as subsequent sentencing, were categorically refuted by Mona’s team.
Michael J. Driscoll, the FBI Assistant Director in Charge, expressed his concerns, stating, “We alleged today that Ms. Montrage participated in multiple romance scams – often targeting elderly victims – resulting in more than $2 million in fraudulent funds under her control.
“Romance scams – especially those that target older individuals – are of major concern. The FBI will be tireless in our efforts to hold fraudsters accountable in the criminal justice system.” he added.
According to the court proceedings, Mona Faiz Montrage was a member of a criminal enterprise based in Ghana from approximately 2013 to 2019. This organization engaged in various fraudulent activities, including romance scams, primarily targeting unsuspecting individuals and businesses in the United States.
The court further revealed, “Many of the romance scam victims targeted by the enterprise were elderly and lived in isolation. These scams involved deceiving victims through deceptive emails, text messages, and social media profiles, creating fictitious identities to establish fraudulent romantic relationships.
Once the victims were convinced and their trust was gained, they were deceived into transferring money to bank accounts controlled by members of the criminal enterprise, all under false pretenses.”
The prosecution disclosed, “Montrage received money from several victims of romance frauds whom members of the Enterprise tricked into sending money. Among the false pretences 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..”
In a particularly audacious incident, Mona Faiz Montrage even employed her real name and engaged in multiple phone conversations with one of her victims. To further solidify the charade, she later sent the victim a counterfeit tribal marriage certificate, falsely claiming that they were wed in Ghana.
The victim ultimately succumbed to Montrage’s manipulation, sending her approximately $89,000 through 82 wire transfers, allegedly to assist with expenses related to Montrage’s father’s farm in Ghana.
The court proceedings made it unequivocally clear that Mona Faiz Montrage exercised control over multiple bank accounts that illicitly received over $2 million in fraudulent funds from the criminal enterprise.