The Real U.S. Embassy in Accra is White, not Pink
December 5, 2016 1:37 PM   Subscribe

Mobsters ran a fake U.S. Embassy in Ghana for 10 years, flying the flag and issuing visas for $6,000

Foreign, Ghana security authorities shut down fake US Embassy in Accra

This fake US Embassy that operated for 10 years, which category of travellers was it serving? Could they have issued visas to human traffickers? Because $6000 is a colossal amount that very few ordinary travellers can afford. It would therefore, not be out of place to assume that most of the clients of this criminal gang were human traffickers. The crime of human trafficking is a lucrative illegal business generating an amount of $150 billion every year for traffickers. Heads to roll at Ghana US Mission following fake Embassy scandal
posted by chavenet (8 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
The first link mentions fake visas while the third seems to say they were issuing genuine visas (presumably obtained through some inside connection with the actual embassy).

On the face of it, this is a brilliant and audacious scam. I believe I know where the nearest US consulate is located, but I have never actually gone looking for verification that it is indeed the consulate. It is more impressive-looking than the pink storefront in Accra, but who's to say?
posted by ricochet biscuit at 1:55 PM on December 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

Ghana is one of the least corrupt and most democratic countries in Africa. President Mahama was vice president before and then was elected president. Only someone who had never seen a US embassy before would fall for this. Which is most people.
posted by Bee'sWing at 2:02 PM on December 5, 2016 [2 favorites]

Didn't something like this happen in a Philip K. Dick novel?
posted by acb at 2:25 PM on December 5, 2016 [5 favorites]

"Didn't something like this happen in a Philip K. Dick novel?"

Hahaha, yeah, that was my exact thought when I heard about this as well. The only part of "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep" (the book upon which the movie, "Blade Runner" was loosely based upon) that I remember in detail is Deckard getting taken to a police station in future Los Angeles that turns out to be run entirely by Replicants. I dismissed that as being needlessly unrealistic (since how would that work without interaction with real cops) but, alas, this might be proving me wrong in that respect.
posted by I-baLL at 4:57 PM on December 5, 2016 [3 favorites]

Because $6000 is a colossal amount that very few ordinary travellers can afford.

That sounds about right for a real (but fraudulently obtained) visa, from what people have told me. There is enough demand, and the money is good enough, that there is a thriving market, supplied by corrupt officials at real embassies. The fake consulate is marketing genius, but this is just a much more open version of what already exists.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:43 PM on December 5, 2016

I laughed so hard when I read this. It was in Dutch newspapers this weekend, because they ran a Dutch Embassy too, with Turkish employees. Such an elaborate scam, I consider this a form of higher art.
posted by ouke at 12:06 AM on December 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

I'm not surprised that the investigation was compromised enough that the bad guys got away and took a lot of the material with them. If these guys were good enough to run corrupt officials in the real US Embassy, they surely had some people inside the investigation - especially since it seemed to involve a lot of different agencies.

Something that wasn't mentioned, though - it's all very well having a visa that looks OK because it's produced on purloined official forms, but it also has to exist on the official database. Were the guys inside the real embassy arranging that as well? Without that, as soon as the passport is scanned on entry to the US the gig is up.
posted by Devonian at 9:51 AM on December 7, 2016

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