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Anthony Gignac, 48, used fake diplomatic credentials and bodyguards for his regal scam.

PHOTO BY MIAMI POLICE


Fake Saudi prince busted after three decades

 

FLORIDA – A man who posed as a Saudi prince and defrauded investors out of $8 million will spend 18 years in prison for fraud, authorities said on Friday.

Anthony Gignac, 48, used fake diplomatic credentials and bodyguards for his regal scam and posed as Prince Khalid Bin Al Saud when meeting investors.

Gignac portrayed a life of luxury by living in a condo on Miami’s posh Fisher Island and driving a Ferrari with a fake diplomatic license plate.

He reportedly demanded to be treated according to royal protocol and asked for gifts from potential investors who deposited money into his bank account.

He spent it on everything from designer clothes to yachts to private jet rides.

“Over the course of the last three decades, Anthony Gignac has portrayed himself as a Saudi prince in order to manipulate, victimise, and scam countless investors from around the world,” US Attorney Fajardo Orshan said in a statement.

“As the leader of a sophisticated, multi-person, international fraud scheme, Gignac used his fake persona – Prince Khalid Bin Al-Saud – to sell false hope. He sold his victims on hope for their families, careers, and future. As a result, dozens of unsuspecting investors were stripped of their investments, losing more than $8 million,” Orshan added.

Prosecutors said Gignac used his fake royal persona to convince people to invest in non-existent business ventures around the world. His scheme started to unravel in May 2017 when he tried to invest in a luxury hotel in Miami.

Over the course of the negotiations, the hotel’s owners became suspicious of Gignac, in part because of his willingness to eat pork products that would normally be off-limits to a devout Muslim prince, the Miami Herald reports.

They then hired a private security group to investigate him, which ultimately led to a federal investigation.

Born in Colombia, Gignac was adopted by a family in the US state of Michigan at the age of seven. He started taking on the persona of a Saudi royal when he was 17, conning credit card companies, shop staff and investors.

According to court documents, he has been arrested 11 times in the past three decades for “prince-related schemes”.

In May 2015, he started using the name Khalid Bin Al Saud, according to the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida. He wore traditional Saudi clothes and expensive watches, and also purchased fake diplomatic licence plates and papers for his bodyguards.

He often travelled on private jets or luxury yachts, and collected expensive artwork.

An Instagram account where he shares photos of his luxurious life chronicles his fake persona. GAD/Expat Media

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