The US Department of Justice (DoJ) on Monday, May 15, 2023, announced the indictment of Ghanaian socialite Mona Faiz Montrage popularly known as Mona4Reall on fraud related criminal charges.
The announcement followed months of speculations about her supposed arrest by authoritie in the United Kingdom.
GhanaWeb highlights five facts about Mona’s arrest and her unsealed indictment charges as contained in the DoJ’s release below:
Arrest and extradition
According to the DoJ, Mona was arrested in the United Kingdom on November 10, 2022, in connection with a series of romance schemes and money laundering between 2013 and 2019.
“Montrage was arrested in the United Kingdom on November 10, 2022, and was extradited from the United Kingdom on May 12, 2023,” the DoJ stated in the release posted on its website on Monday.
Details of offense and indictment
As contained in the unsealed indictment charges of jury, Mona is facing six counts: 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. She is also charged with one count of receipt of stolen money and one count of conspiracy to receive stolen money.
A US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Damien Wililiams is quoted as saying that Hajia4Reall and the members of a criminal enterprise based in West Africa targeted older Americans through romance and ended up receiving over $2million through the activities of the enterprise.
“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,” Damien Williams is quoted by the DoJ.
The unsealed indictment said Hajia4Reall in pursuit of her alleged scam activities committed offenses including opening multiple bank accounts in the US for the receipt of payments from her victims.
“On or about September 15, 2016, Mona Faiz Montrage, the defendant opened a business bank account in the name of 4Reall Desigsn in the Bronx. New York (“Account-1”).
“On or about November 1, 2018, Montrage received into Account-1 two check deposits from a romance scam victim (“Victim-2”) totalling at least approximately $195,000,” the Grand Jury indictment said.
Mona4Reall following her extradition to the US was expected to be put before US District Court Judge Paul A. Crotty on Monday, May 15, 2023.
Possible jail term
If found guilty, she faces up to 75 years jail term if she’s found guilty of all the charges levelled against her in the fraud.
The sentence duration of 95 years is subject to her receiving the maximum sentence for each of the six charges she is facing.
More often than not, sentences are handed down to run concurrently which means she could get a maximum of 20 years in jail.
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