Hajia4Real’s network to be probed in alleged $2M romance scam – FIC

Ghanaian socialite and musician, Mona Faiz Montrage, widely known as Hajia4Real, is facing serious legal consequences in a high-profile $2 million romance scam case currently unfolding in the United States.

The case has taken a new turn as it is believed that Hajia4Real might not be the sole perpetrator and that her associates within her social and business network could also be involved in the fraudulent activities.

The Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) of Ghana, in collaboration with INTERPOL and the FBI, is actively investigating the matter, considering all individuals connected to the suspect as potential persons of interest.

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Hajia4Real is renowned for her extensive connections in the entertainment and business circles in Ghana. Over the years, she has built a substantial network and has served as an ambassador for various prominent brands.

It is within this context that the FIC, the national center responsible for receiving and analyzing reports on suspicious transactions and financial crimes, has urged the public to provide any relevant information that may aid in their investigation.

By reporting to the FIC, individuals can play a crucial role in assisting authorities in uncovering and bringing to justice any additional individuals involved in fraudulent activities.

Shaun Henry Osei, the Deputy Manager of the FIC, has highlighted that Hajia4Real is unlikely to have operated alone, suggesting that her fraudulent activities were likely conducted within a larger network.

Identifying and apprehending other members of this network has become a priority for investigators.

Turning to the specifics of the case, Hajia4Real, who is 30 years old, was arrested in the United Kingdom, where she had traveled to perform at the Ghana Music Awards UK edition.

Subsequently, she was extradited to the United States on May 12, 2023, to face six charges related to romance scams. During her court appearance in Manhattan federal court, she pleaded not guilty to all charges.

It has been revealed that the charges revolve around her alleged involvement in a series of romance schemes targeting vulnerable elderly individuals living alone.

According to the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York and the Assistant Director in Charge of the New York Field Office of the FBI, an indictment consisting of six counts has been unsealed.

These charges implicate Hajia4Real in orchestrating romance scams and subsequently laundering the proceeds derived from these illicit activities.

Hajia4Real gained widespread recognition and popularity as an influencer on Instagram, where she used the username ‘Hajia4Real.’ At the height of her social media presence, she amassed an impressive following of approximately 3.4 million Instagram users, making her one of Ghana’s top ten most-followed profiles.

However, her success as an influencer has now been overshadowed by her alleged involvement in fraudulent schemes.

Court documents reveal that from around 2013 to 2019, Hajia4Real was reportedly a member of a criminal enterprise based in Ghana.

This organization carried out a series of frauds targeting individuals and businesses in the United States. Primarily, the enterprise focused on perpetrating romance scams, preying on vulnerable elderly victims.

The victims were deceived into sending money through various false pretenses, such as assisting in transporting gold from overseas, resolving fabricated FBI unemployment investigations, or aiding a fictitious US army officer in receiving funds from Afghanistan.

One notable incident highlighted in the court documents involves Hajia4Real using her real name and engaging in multiple phone conversations with a victim.

As part of the scam, she even sent the victim a tribal marriage certificate, falsely claiming that they had been married in Ghana. This particular victim ended up sending approximately 82 wire transfers totaling around $89,000 to Hajia4Real to support what was purportedly associated costs with her father.

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