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Romance scam: What Hajia4Reall said in court before being sentenced to a year and a day

Showbiz

18 days ago
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Mona Faiz Montrage, alias Hajia4Reall was sentenced to jail by an American court on June 28, 2024, in a romance fraud case that started in 2023 with her extradition from the United Kingdom.

She pleaded guilty earlier this year and has now been sentenced to one year and one day in prison in the United States of America.

Her lawyers had earlier argued for a months jail term citing her little daughter and the fact that she did not have a previous criminal record.

The prosecution argued that a lengthier term will serve as a deterrent for others involved in similar schemes.

According to Inner City Press, an American outfit that has followed the case since its inception, Hajia4Reall shed tears at a point during sentencing expressing that she was ashamed of being a mother of an 8-year-old.

"I want to pay them back. I feel shame as a mother of an 8-year-old daughter. [Sobs] Please have mercy on me," she is quoted to have said when he lawyer sought a lower jail term.

Read an excerpt from proceedings on the final day:

Judge: The guideline is 37 to 46 months.

Assistant US Attorney (AUSA): The victims were vulnerable senior citizens. Some were promised marriage; they sent and lost money. Middlemen received 10%. AUSA: Defendant participated in this scheme fir six years. 32 victims lost $1.4 million. Meanwhile, Ms. Montrage reinvented herself in Ghana.

Judge: She blames an abusive former boyfriend.

AUSA: He was arrested and deported. She continued. One victim confronted her...

Judge: She will be deported.

Defense lawyer: 3 months of incarceration would be enough. She didn't know the money going into her account was from romance fraud.

Judge: She created multiple bank accounts.

Defense: She's never before disclosed her abuse by her ex-boyfriend.

Montrage: I want to pay them back. I feel shame as a mother of an 8 year-old daughter. [Sobs] Please have mercy on me.

AUSA: She started opening these accounts at different banks at an earlier time. Many in Ghana are following this case. General deterrence is needed

Defense: Victim-1 tracked her from her instagram photos - her video had a voice dubbed over, Victim-1 was catfished

Judge: I sentence Ms Montrage to one year and one day in prison, the extra day to allow "good time."

Defense: We propose she be allowed to fly back to Ghana as soon as she is released, with no ICE detention

AUSA: We consent

What is ICE?

ICE stands for US Immigration and Customs Enforcement. It essentially is the agency that makes a custody determination.

Information on its website stated: "ICE uses its limited detention resources to detain noncitizens to secure their presence for immigration proceedings or removal from the United States — as well as those that are subject to mandatory detention, as outlined by the Immigration and Nationality Act, or those that ICE determines are a public safety or flight risk during the custody determination process.

"When a noncitizen is not subject to mandatory detention or is not deemed to be a public safety or flight risk, ICE exercises its discretion in making custody determinations to release noncitizens with conditions. These custody decisions are made on a case-by-case basis and after considering the totality of circumstances — primarily considering risk of flight, national security threat and risk to public safety.

"ICE also takes other factors into consideration — including when a noncitizen has a serious medical condition, is the primary caregiver of minor children, or other humanitarian considerations," it added.

Hajia4Reall was charged and extradited from the United Kingdom where she was arrested to the USA for her role in a romance scheme.

According to reports available to this website, the socialite who had been talking about her rise through entrepreneurship was involved in a romance scam to the tune of $2 million.

She is said to have spoken to one of her victims several times and received wire transfers to the tune of $89,000 to help fund her father’s farm.

The socialite was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, one count of money laundering conspiracy and one count of money laundering, she was also charged with one count of receipt of stolen money.

 

source: Ghanaweb.com