Hajia4real extradited to US in $2M romance scam
Ghanaian 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.
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.
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.
US authorities have expressed concern about romance scams targeting older people and expressed the need to hold perpetrators to account.