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Edmund Gogah

4 months ago

‘THE ENTERPRISE’ A “SAKAWA” GROUP HAJIA4REAL IS PART OF AND THEIR ARREST!

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4 months ago

‘THE ENTERPRISE’ A “SAKAWA” GROUP HAJIA4REALL IS PART OF AND THEIR ARREST!

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 'The Enterprise' a notorious group for cyber-fraud activities, notably business e-mail compromises and romance scams, has garnered attention in 2021, US authorities apprehended several Ghanaian members.


                 On Wednesday, February 21, 2024, Mona Faiz Montrage, a prominent figure on Ghanaian social media known as Hajia4Reall, admitted her guilt in a romance scam case amounting to $2 million in the United States. Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, disclosed her involvement in a criminal network referred to as 'The Enterprise,' operating primarily in Ghana and West Africa.                                   This group, notorious for cyber-fraud activities, notably business e-mail compromises and romance scams, has garnered attention before. In 2021, US authorities apprehended several Ghanaian members of 'The Enterprise,' including Farouk Appiedu, Fred Asante, Celvin Freeman, Lord Aning, Sadick Edusei Kissi, and Faisal Ali. The arrests, spanning from 2013 to 2020, were the culmination of a lengthy operation targeting their fraudulent activities, which also extended to exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic for financial gain.


The modus operandi of 'The Enterprise' involved various fraudulent schemes, including business e-mail compromises, romance scams, and exploiting government relief programs such as the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program. These scams targeted both individuals and businesses across the United States, resulting in substantial financial losses. The gang members, utilizing fake identities and sophisticated tactics, manipulated victims into wiring funds to accounts under their control. The operation was brought to light through the collaborative efforts of the New York Offices of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigations (IRS, CI), with the prosecution overseen by the Office's Complex Frauds and Cybercrime Unit.


Moreover, the indictment against Farouk Appiedu led to the seizure and potential forfeiture of four luxury vehicles, including two 2019 Rolls Royce Cullinans, a 2020 Bentley Continental GT, and a 2020 Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG, which were allegedly acquired using proceeds from fraudulent activities. Manhattan US Attorney Audrey Strauss condemned the callousness of the fraud schemes orchestrated by the defendants, emphasizing their exploitation of vulnerable individuals and the misuse of government relief funds during a time of crisis.


FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney, Jr., highlighted the diverse nature of the scams perpetrated by the group, targeting elderly individuals and exploiting the fear of embarrassment among victims to discourage reporting. He reassured the public of law enforcement's commitment to pursuing such criminals, regardless of their location. Similarly, IRS-CI Special Agent in Charge Jonathan D. Larsen emphasized the significant blow dealt to the criminal network, signaling continued efforts to combat illegal activities and ensure accountability.


In conclusion, the guilty plea of Hajia4Reall and the apprehension of other members of 'The Enterprise' underscore the global reach and devastating impact of cyber-fraud operations. Through collaborative law enforcement efforts, authorities remain vigilant in combating such criminal enterprises and seeking justice for victims.

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