December 04, 2016

Fake US embassy provides full service

It's been a while since I've posted on the cost of false documents, perhaps because I've fooled myself into belief that everyone's got the message: you can pick a full set for about $1000.

But this one is more adventurous:

In Accra, Ghana, there was a building that flew an American flag outside every Monday, Tuesday, and Friday, 7:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Inside hung a photo of President Barack Obama, and signs indicated that you were in the U.S. Embassy in Ghana. However, you were not. This embassy was a sham.

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. The "consular officers" were Turkish citizens who spoke English and Dutch. For about a decade it operated unhindered; 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 sham embassy advertised their services through flyers and billboards to cultivate customers from Ghana, Cote d'Ivoire, and Togo. Some of the services the embassy provided for these customers included issuance of fraudulently obtained, legitimate U.S. visas, counterfeit visas, false identification documents (including bank records, education records, birth certificates, and others) for a cost of $6,000.

There's no indication as to why it took a decade to find, nor whether the documents were good enough to fool.

Nor is there any indication in the article as to what $6k buys you - and $6000 does seem to be an outlier.

Most of the prior information I have collected suggests $1000 gets you the set. It's important to know the number, roughly, because it sets the bar as to how much security we can expect from the identity documents provided by the state. Whether $1k or $6k is a low bar or a high bar depends, but what is the case is that there is a bar, above which we can expect criminals to leap for profit.

Posted by iang at December 4, 2016 02:15 PM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?

Hit preview to see your comment as it would be displayed.