Hajia4Reall: Lawyer Amanda Clinton Shares Thoughts On Socialite's Guilty Plea In US Romance Scam

Hajia4Reall: Lawyer Amanda Clinton Shares Thoughts On Socialite's Guilty Plea In US Romance Scam

  • Legal practitioner Amanda Clinton has shared her thoughts on Hajia4Reall's guilty plea in her US romance scam case
  • Sharing her legal opinion with YEN.com.gh, Lawyer Clinton noted that the guilty plea was the best advice Hajia4Reall's legal representatives could have given her considering her circumstances
  • Analysing the possible aggravating factors prosecutors will be arguing on and the mitigating factors the defence will be pushing, she predicted a possible four-year term for Hajia4Reall

Ghanaian lawyer Amanda Clinton has delved into Hajia4Reall's $2m US romance scam case and the socialite's decision to plead guilty.

Lawyer Clinton seems to agree with the advice of the legal representatives of Hajia4Reall leading to her plea, saying it was a good option considering the facts of the case.

Hajia4Reall, born Mona Faiz Montrage, has been facing prosecution in the US since May 2023. Initially arrested in the UK in November 2022, she was extradited to America six months later for prosecution.

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Hajia4Reall and Amanda Clinton
Lawyer Amanda Clinton has shared her thoughts on Hajia4Reall's case Photo source: @hajia4Reall, @amandaclinton
Source: Instagram

Hajia4Reall's guilty plea and possible 5-year jail term

Many months after, on February 21, 2024, it emerged that the 31-year-old had pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to receive stolen money.

The charge carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison. She also agreed to pay forfeiture for $2,164,758.41 and make restitution in the same amount as part of her plea.

Amanda Clinton breaks down Hajia4Reall's guilty plea

In a chat with YEN.com.gh, Amanda Clinton suggested that Hajia4Reall would have been nailed and handed a long sentence if she had not been advised to plead guilty.

According to her, the charges she faces fall under the "unjust enrichment" category of lawsuits, the most straightforward cases to win a judgment on.

She explained that all the prosecution needed to do was establish the genuine name of the perpetrator, Hajia4Reall, in this case, and show a paper trail and financial assets available for reparation.

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"Conviction and financial reparation are straightforward in cases of 'unjust enrichment' or 'defrauding by false pretences' when the perpetrator's true identity is revealed, evidence exists of bank and other transfers, and a paper trail demonstrating the perpetrator's fraudulent intent when committing the act," she said.

She observed that Hajia4Reall's legal team was aware their client could easily be identified and tied to a paper trail, hence, the decision to make her plead guilty, adding that it must have been a plea deal considering earlier charges she faced.

For Lawyer Clinton, Hajia4Reall's voluntary flight from London to New York to face prosecution must have contributed to her:

"...obtaining a plea deal in which the charges were reduced from six original charges to one charge."
"The voluntary flight was referred to in her legal team's press release posted on her Instagram on February 21, 2024. Voluntary submission saves time for US officials who would otherwise have to prepare an extradition bid even if she had already been arrested by U.K authorities at the request of the FBI. In terms of mitigation, her submission to US authorities to face justice also demonstrates accountability and remorse.," she added.

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What could be the possible sentence of Hajia4Reall?

While Hajia4Reall awaits sentencing on a yet-to-be-announced date, Amanda Clinton foresees efforts by prosecutors to get her to serve the maximum sentence (five years), presenting evidence of aggravating factors that justify a hefty sentencing.

Such factors, she said, may include the number of victims involved and how vulnerable they are, the amount received from the scams, how deeply involved the accused was in the scheme, and how the proceeds were used, among others.

"As a lawyer, I would imagine state prosecutors are likely to mention these type of aggravating factors and ask the judge to sentence her to 3-4 years in jail. Especially so since the remaining 5 others were not pursued by the prosecution. Ultimately, the judge will make the final decision on how much jail time she is sentenced to," she added.

But Lawyer Clinton was quick to point out that Hajia4Reall also had some mitigating factors which would play in her favour, like her voluntary flight from London, the alleged ending of the scheme by 2019, her lack of leadership role in the scheme, and her readiness to pay over $2m in forfeiture and restitution.

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She concluded that Hajia4Reall may get around four years in jail since the aggravating factors outweigh her mitigating factors.

"The aggravating circumstances exceed the mitigating factors in this case, and four out of the five charges initially presented by the prosecution have been laid to rest on the file. In my professional opinion, the prosecutors could seek for four years in jail for Hajer, and it is ultimately up to the judge to decide."

Hajia4Reall paid $2m, named 4 partners to get a few years

Meanwhile, Hajia4Reall has reportedly paid $2m in restitution after pleading guilty to one of the charges in her US romance scam case.

According to a Nigerian journalist, Dr Kemi Olunloyo, Hajia4Reall has released some names as part of her plea deal with US authorities.

The Ghanaian star now faces up to five years in jail, with Dr Olunloyo predicting a lesser sentence, like three years, because of her cooperation.

Source: YEN.com.gh

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