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Press Release

Prominent Ghanaian “Influencer” Sentenced To One Year In Prison For Receiving Romance Scam Proceeds

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that MONA FAIZ MONTRAGE was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison by U.S. District Judge J. Paul Oetken on June 28, 2024.  MONTRAGE previously pled guilty on February 21, 2024, to conspiracy to receive stolen money.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “Mona Faiz Montrage knowingly received illegal funds from older Americans who were victims of romance scams and now faces serious consequences for her actions.  Romance scams such as Montrage’s harm vulnerable, elderly victims not only in the cruel betrayal of trust in the realization that their online romantic connection was fiction, but by also callously stealing their money.  This Office and our law enforcement partners are relentless in bringing fraudsters who target Americans to justice, no matter where they are.”

As alleged in the Indictment and statements made in public filings and public court proceedings:

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 U.S., including romance scams. 

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 person who was, in fact, a fake identity assumed by members of the Enterprise.  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 the victims believed were controlled by their romantic interests, when, in fact, the bank accounts were controlled by members of the Enterprise.

MONTRAGE is a Ghanaian public figure who rose to fame as an influencer through her Instagram profile under the username “Hajia4Reall,” which at one point had approximately 3.4 million Instagram followers and was among the top 10 most followed profiles in Ghana.

MONTRAGE received money from approximately forty victims of romance frauds, whom members of the Enterprise tricked into sending money.  Among the false pretenses used to induce victims to send money to MONTRAGE were payments to transport gold to the U.S. from overseas, payments to resolve a fake Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) investigation, and payments to assist a fake U.S. Army officer in receiving funds from Afghanistan.

In total, MONTRAGE controlled bank accounts that received over $2 million in fraudulent funds for the Enterprise.

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In addition to the prison term, MONTRAGE, 32, of Accra, Ghana, was sentenced to three years of supervised release and order to forfeit $216,475 and pay restitution in the amount of $1,387,458.

Mr. Williams praised the outstanding work of the FBI.

The case is being prosecuted by the Office’s Complex Frauds and Cybercrime Unit.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mitzi Steiner and Kevin Mead are in charge of the prosecution.


Nicholas Biase, Lauren Scarff, Shelby Wratchford
(212) 637-2600

Updated July 1, 2024

Financial Fraud
Press Release Number: 24-238