Lawyer Ebenezer Apiagyei, a US-based prosecutor and Supreme Court attorney has stated that contrary to reports that Hajia 4Reall Mona Faiz Montrage might be sentenced to 95 years for her involvement in a romance scam, she might serve a maximum of 10 years if corporates with the federal government.
According to the prosecutor, corporating with the federal government and the US attorney general will mean giving out names of the big fishes of the enterprise, of which she is part.
Lawyer Apiagyei added that, when the Ghanaian social media influencer, Mona Faiz Montrage Hajia 4Reall, decides to do that, some of her charges might be withdrawn.
“As a prosecutor, I can tell you this might not go to trial because they have enough evidence against her…The reason they have this individual who is popular and famous, I can tell you how it’s going to end. They are going to give all the evidence they have on her to her lawyer.
“Hajia 4Reall lawyer is going to review what we call discovery. Then they develop a strategy, the lawyer will tell her to admit some. And then they will work with the Attorney General’s Office. So what usually happens is that they try to mitigate the sentencing…the sentences of all the counts accumulate to a maximum of 95 years. I’m yet to find out somebody serving 95 years in this kind of international wire fraud.
“Usually they plead guilty, and they use them as a leverage. So they are going to use this individual as leverage, to get all those involved. If starts talking and corporating with the federal government, then it might reduce the sentencing.
“They can withdraw some of the charges and definitely will ask for 8-10 years…If she is corporate, then she might probably name names, who are the big guns in this enterprise. So sometimes, they use her as the main witness to go after the big fish,” the lawyer told Frank Ntiamoah Williams in an interview
Ghanaian social media influencer, Mona Faiz Montrage, also known as Hajia4Reall, is officially the subject of a six-count charge in a Manhattan Federal Court, the United States Attorney’s Office confirmed in a May 15, 2023 statement.
The socialite was extradited from the United Kingdom to the US for allegedly swindling older, single American men and women in a romance scam to the tune of over US$2 million.
According to the statement, Mona4Reall appeared in court on Monday, May 15, 2023, for her alleged involvement in a series of schemes that targeted vulnerable people who lived alone.
The New York Post news portal stated that the socialite pleaded not guilty to the charges, and is set to be released in the coming days on a $500,000 bond with GPS tracking via an ankle monitor.
Her lawyer, Adam Cortez, confirmed to The Post that Mona received money from several others who were swindled by scammers in her network, and that she is charged with wire fraud, money laundering, receipt of stolen money, and conspiracy.
If convicted on the top charge, Montrage could face up to 20 years in prison.
According to court documents, she was involved with a group of con artists from West Africa from at least 2013 through 2019.
The scammers would trick victims into transferring money to them under false pretenses, such as to help move gold to the US from overseas, to resolve bogus FBI investigations, and payments to help fake US Army officers in Afghanistan.
Manhattan US Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement shared by the New York Post said, “Thanks to the efforts of our law enforcement partners, Montrage was arrested abroad and has been brought to the United States to face justice. These scams can be both financially and emotionally devastating for vulnerable victims.”
Cortez said his client can only travel in certain parts of New York and New Jersey pending her case.