An organized crime ring operated a “sham” U.S. embassy in Ghana that issued illegally obtained visas for about a decade, the State Department confirmed Sunday.
The building in Accra, Ghana, flew a U.S. flag every Monday, Tuesday and Friday morning. And inside the building was a picture of President Obama and signs suggesting visitors were indeed inside a real U.S. embassy, the agency said.
The purported organizers obtained blank documents to doctor and forge. The fake embassy was staffed by imposter consular officers who were in fact Turkish citizens who spoke English and Dutch.
The operation even advertised its services through fliers and billboards and charged customers as much as $6,000 -- with options to buy fake supporting documents such as phony birth certificates and bank records.
The fake embassy remained opened so long because “the criminals running the operation were able to pay off corrupt officials,” according to the State Department.Here's the State Department page about it. I can't believe that many customers thought this decrepit building was really the U.S. embassy, but considering how incompetently many of the West African scams are, perhaps standards for fraud there are very low.