It is not perfectly clear how exactly they pulled it off undetected for so long but a fake U.S. embassy in Ghana did the unthinkable and operated the sham for about ten years.
The U.S. Department of State revealed in a statement that the fake embassy was operated by organized Ghanian and Turkish criminals in collaboration with a Ghanian lawyer specializing in immigration and criminal law. The main ' service' offered by the sham embassy is issuance of visas that of course turned out to be counterfeit but cost as much as $6,000.
The bizarre business operated for almost a decade in a property at capital Accra where oddly enough the real U.S. embassy is also located.
To make the office appear legitimate, the fake embassy flew the American flag three times a week and even hung a photo of President Barack Obama inside.
Aside from the visas, the sham office also issued fake bank records, education records and birth certificates issued by " consular officers" who happen to be English and Dutch-speaking Turkish citizens.
The bogus enterprise lasted that long because the operators connived with corrupt officials that gave them access to official blank documents which they then
"Fabricated". So shrewd were the operators that they even made use of two satellite offices including a dress shop which also served as front for the operation and used as base for document production.
The business proliferated because it was also widely advertised with flyers and billboards in Ghana, Cote d' Iviore and Togo. There were customers coming as far as the most remote areas in West Africa where they were driven to Accra, put up in hotels to avail of the services of the fake embassy.
It was during a wider trafficking and fraud investigation that diplomatic security agents at the U.S. embassy in Ghana were tipped off about the fake embassy. An international task force composed of various Ghana police forces and officials from the Canada embassy helped the U.S. embassy and conducted the raids resulting into several arrests. Counterfeit passports, visas and IDs from various countries and nationalities, along with gadgets, were seized by the authorities from the sham office.
Further investigations into the Turkish organized ring are ongoing while several suspects are still at large. The Interpol and Bureau of Consular Affairs have been contacted for possible assistance on the investigations and manhunt for the remaining suspects.<<Back