A Ghanaian woman social media influencer has been extradited from the United Kingdom to the US for allegedly swindling over $2 million from older, single American men and women in a twisted lonely-hearts scam, federal prosecutors said Monday.

The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) in a statement indicated she had been charged with several counts, including conspiracy to commit fraud and money laundering.

“Romance scams – especially those that target older individuals – are of major concern,” FBI Assistant Director in Charge Michael J. Driscoll said Monday. “We alleged today that Mona Faiz Montrage participated in multiple romance scams – often targeting elderly victims – resulting in more than $2 million in fraudulent funds under her control.”

Montrage, 30, is a Ghanaian social media influencer whose “Hajia4Reall” profile is among the top-10 most followed in her native Ghana, Ghana, according to a  federal indictment made public this week. She was arrested on the U.S. charges and was extradited from the United Kingdom. Posts on the Instagram account identified by federal prosecutors as being hers    show a young woman wearing attractive clothes and posing in front of high-priced automobiles.

She is charged in the U.S. indictment with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, one count of wire fraud, one count of money laundering conspiracy, and one count of money laundering, each of which carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Montrage, who hails from the capital city of Accra in Ghana, is also charged with one count of receipt of stolen money, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, and one count of conspiracy to receive stolen money, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

“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,” prosecutors said in a statement Monday.     

“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 fake identity, court papers said.

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 controlled by members of the Enterprise, prosecutors said.

Romance schemes weren’t the only ruses used by the scheme, prosecutors said.

Among the false pretenses used to induce victims to send money to Montrage were payments to transport gold to the United States from overseas; payments to resolve a fake FBI unemployment investigation; and payments to assist a fake United States army officer in receiving funds from Afghanistan, according to the federal indictment.

She could receive a maximum sentence of 20 years in jail for each count if found guilty, according to some legal practitioners.

The 30-year-old was arrested on 10 November last year in the UK and then extradited to the US on Friday.

She pleaded not guilty to all charges when she appeared before a judge on Monday.

Montrage, who currently has 4.2 million followers on her Instagram profile, has remained active on her social media accounts since her arrest in the United Kingdom on Nov. 10, 2022.

On her TikTok and Instagram, she has posted several times a month, participating in social media trends and sharing her lavish lifestyle.

In one video earlier this month, Montrage is seen at a Dior trunk show trying on merchandise from the luxury store with friends. Other posts also show Montrage promoting products and her collaborating with other influencers.


Piers Potter


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