The US State Department confirmed that they shut down a fake embassy operating in Accra, Ghana as a front for fake travel documents and other illegal goods. Apparently run by an international crime ring, the nondescript building used an American flag and photo of President Obama to pose as a legitimate embassy for a few hours each day. Rather than accepting walk-in appointments as a normal embassy would do, instead the people behind the operation found customers in rural areas of Ghana or other countries and drove them to the capital to coordinate requested documents.
The “embassy” managed to be so convincing — despite being just a standard pink building in Accra rather than the more official looking real government building in the city — by striking deals with corrupt law enforcement and officials in the capital. According to the State Department, the embassy was enabled and operated by,
“figures from both Ghanaian and Turkish organized crime rings and a Ghanaian attorney practicing immigration and criminal law. The “consular officers” were Turkish citizens who spoke English and Dutch.”
The State Department announced in early November that a sting operation involving multiple countries (including Canada as well as law enforcement contacts on the ground in Ghana) was successful in raiding the main “embassy” building as well as outlying locations being used for document manufacturing or as an operations base. False documents were recovered at multiple locations, as well as the machinery necessary to convincingly manufacture fake passports and visas. Despite finding such evidence, not all people responsible were caught as some were able to escape to other countries or safe houses before law enforcement obtained warrants and the go-ahead to kick off the raids.
So this saga is not over yet, as the people responsible for such a successful ruse are still on the lam and operating elsewhere.
(via US State Department)