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For American visas: Liberians robbed of US$31,000

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Dozens of Liberians have suffered cash losses totaling US$31,000 to a purported ex-US marine, Kamba Damba and his accomplices in a “fake US Visa… scheme” organized by co-defendants Hassan Dukuly and Othello Fran George, a police charge sheet reveals.

In the crime “facilitated” by co-defendants Ma Sangay Fofana and Albert Street, police established that Ma Fofana aided in recruiting some 14 persons and collecting money from them under the pretense that her alleged son Damba, had come to Liberia to carry his family to America. The 14 victims, including Felecia Broh and Paul Sannoh, explained that during October and September 2014, the defendants, including Damba, who is at large, had a program to take them to America.

Defendants Ma Fofana and others allegedly persuaded them that co-defendant Damba was an ex-US marine, who fought in the Iraqi war, and thereafter accorded the opportunity by the US Government to carry all his family in Liberia to America.

Nearly all of the defendants appeared to be admitting to have been contacted and played some roles either by recruiting victims while others, like defendant Albert Street, said he issued receipts to candidates, but denied receiving money for himself.

The Complainants claimed that based on Ma Fofana and Hassen Dukuly’s argument that Damba’s family did not reach a targeted number of 31; they were therefore recruiting additional persons to make the trip. The defendants allegedly told the victims to bring US$2,100 each for the trip, visa, registration and other fees, including police clearance, birth certificate, passport, health certificate and yellow book.

During the recruitment exercise, the complainants claimed that co-defendant Othello George was always talking with them as an American via cell phone, allegedly assuring them that he was a consular at the American Embassy in Liberia. Defendant George had allegedly confirmed the legitimacy of the trip if they paid the money and that he also knew co-defendant Damba as an ex-US marine.

One of the complainants, victim Cynthia Davies told investigators that she physically saw defendant Othello George when he and defendant Hassen Fofana visited her selling place at Mamba Point, alleging to be a consular within the US Embassy. Other complainants, including Victoria T. Borbor said she saw defendant Damba on Camp Johnson Road, dressed in US Army uniform when he and Ma Fofana and others went to recruit people.

Another complainant, Alhussine J.L. Rogers said he was told to pay US$4,000 since he had Sierra Leonean passport, but he paid US$3,800, with promise to pay the balance when they arrive in the US. The complainants said they were told by their recruiters that they won’t sit interview at the US Embassy here, on grounds that defendant Damba would take their respective passports to have Visas place in it.

Meanwhile, police said defendant Othello admitted that co-defendant Hassen Fofana at times gave him US$5.00; $10.00 and $15.00; and further told Ma Fofana that he is a friend to her purported son Damba. Defendant Hassen was also investigated for rape, a crime police say he allegedly committed against three children of co-defendant Ma Fofana during the recruitment.

The defendants have been charged with theft of property, criminal facilitation and aiding consummation of crime in violation of chapters 15, 10, and 12, Section 15.5 and 10.2, 12.5 of the revised Penal Law of Liberia, pending court trial.

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