Media outlets, government officials and citizens of the world were all astounded when news reports arose that a fake embassy in Ghana had been selling US visas for the past decade without arousing any suspicion.
For a decade, an American flag flew outside a battered pink building in Ghana, welcoming unsuspecting, out of town tourists.
Inside a painting of Barack Obama, the current President of the United States adorned the wall.
Located in the Ghanaian capital of Accra, the embassy sold illegally obtained authentic visas for a price of up to $6,000.
The embassy was said to be operated by a criminal network made up of Ghanaian and Turkish gangsters.
Operatives posed as consular officers and staffed the operation in the fake embassy.
The operatives were not American but spoke English and Dutch.
The State Department issued a statement which said “The criminals running the operation were able to pay off corrupt officials to look the other way, as well as obtain legitimate blank documents to be doctored.”
The officials also said that the embassy was shut down in the summer after a tip from an informant reached the Regional Security office.
Raids conducted resulted in the arrest of a number of operatives and also to the seizure of authentic and counterfeit Indian, South African and Schengen Zone visas as well as passports from over 150 countries.
It is unknown as to how the criminals managed to get their hands on these authentic visas.
The fake embassy was in stark contrast to the real US embassy which is a heavily fortified complex located in one of the country’s most expensive neighborhoods.
The fake embassy was open three days a week and did not accept walk-in customers. Instead, advertising was done openly on billboards.
Despite the size of the scam, the State Department told the Associated Press that no people entered the United States by using forged visas.
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.