A popular U.K.-based influencer with over 4 million followers has been extradited to the U.S. after allegedly scamming some of her followers out of $2 million.
From 2013 to 2019, 30-year-old Mona Faiz Montrage allegedly participated in a criminal enterprise that targeted Americans, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New York wrote on May 15. She is being accused of running several romance scams from which she earned millions and of faking a marriage to one of her victims.
Montrage is being accused of deceiving victims into believing they were in a romantic relationship with her and then persuading victims to transfer money to her under false pretenses.
Prosecutors claim that one victim sent Montrage $89,000 over the course of 82 wire transfers, after she claimed that she needed help to keep her father’s farm in Ghana. She also allegedly sent the victim a “tribal marriage certificate” to indicate, falsely, that she and the victim were married.
In November 2018, Montrage also allegedly received checks totaling around $195,000 from another victim.
“These scams can be both financially and emotionally devastating for vulnerable victims,” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams wrote. “Montrage was arrested abroad and has been brought to the United States to face justice.”
Montrage has been charged with 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. Each charge has a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. She was also charged with one count of receipt of stolen money, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years, and one count of conspiracy to receive stolen money, for which the maximum sentence is five years.
Montrage has pleaded not guilty, and her bail is set at $500,000.
In February 2023, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) laid out several common lies spun by romance scammers, most of whom operate over social media messaging.
“Those lies are working,” the FTC wrote. “In 2022, nearly 70,000 people reported a romance scam and reported losses hit a staggering $1.3 billion. The median reported loss: $4,400.”
Another statistic found from 2022 said that people over the age of 65 are the most likely to fall for romance scams and suffer the highest financial losses.
Montrage’s last post on social media, dated May 9, is a video of her and her young daughter. She has not publicly commented on or addressed the accusations.
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