WASHINGTON (CBSNews) — A fake U.S. embassy in Accra, Ghana that was issuing both counterfeit and legitimate U.S. visas was shut down over the summer after operating unhindered for about a decade, the U.S. State Department said.
The building of the sham operation flew a U.S. flag — and even had a picture of President Barack Obama hanging inside.
“Signs indicated that you were in the U.S. Embassy in Ghana. However, you were not,” the State Department said on its website.
“It was not operated by the United States government, but by figures from both Ghanaian and Turkish organized crime rings and a Ghanaian attorney practicing immigration and criminal law.”
Those in charge paid corrupt officials to both look the other way and obtain legitimate documents so they could be doctored.
While operating, those involved issued fraudulently obtained, legitimate U.S. visas, as well as counterfeit visas and false identification documents — for $6,000.
The State Department didn’t say if anyone entered the U.S. using the visas, or how they were obtained by criminals.