Getting into America is a big, profitable business.
Would you believe that the fake visa industry is so profitable, it attracts organized crime?
The State Department just confirmed an organized crime ring had operated what is being described as a “sham” U.S. embassy in Ghana, which issued illegal visas for nearly a decade.
The fake embassy in Accra, Ghana flew an American flag every Monday, Tuesday, and Friday morning.
Inside was a hanging portrait of President Barack Obama and other indicators meant to deceive visitors into believing it was a real United States Embassy.
The scam? Obtain blank documents to doctor and forge, and then sell them to unsuspecting and naïve people.
The fake embassy was organized by Turkish citizens who acted as imposter consular officers who spoke both English and Dutch.
It was so complex, nuanced, and bold in its operation that it even advertised its services through fliers and billboards, charging customers as much as $6,000.
The $6,000 included options to buy “supporting documents” including birth certificates and bank records.
Joseph Weber of Fox News reported:
“The fake embassy remained opened so long because ‘the criminals running the operation were able to pay off corrupt officials,’ according to the State Department.
The report states the elaborate scheme was run by Ghanaian and Turkish organized crime rings and a Ghanaian attorney who practices immigration and criminal law.
The State Department reported about the operation Nov. 2 on its website and wrote, ‘This embassy was a sham.’
Two State Department officials confirmed to FoxNews.com on Sunday that the report was real, amid a proliferation of so-called ‘fake news.’
However, the officials declined to provide additional information including details about how many bogus passports might have been issued or on how many people from the West African nation could be living illegally in other countries.
They also declined to discuss why news outlets first started reporting the story this weekend, saying more details could be made available Monday.
The operation was broken up this past summer by a team of law enforcement agencies that included the U.S. Diplomatic Security Service, Canadian Embassy officials and local police.
The embassy sting by the joint task force uncovered 150 passports from 10 countries as well as real and counterfeit visas from India, and the United States.
A fake Netherlands embassy also was discovered in the sting.”
The operation in Ghana was so large, they had two satellite locations as well.
There was an apartment building and a dress shop in which an industrial sewing machine could re-create the binding on the fake passports.
According to reports, Turkish and Ghanaian organizers would drive to remote parts of the country to find customers, versus accepting walk-in visa appointments, exclusively.
They would then proceed to drive customers to a hotel in Accra and then over to the embassy.
Some of the perpetrators remain at large.
Ten years and no one suspected a thing.