A man impersonating a wealthy Saudi prince who used his stolen identity to swindle money and live a counterfeit life has been outed as a fraud and sentenced to years in prison.
Since May of 2015, Anthony Gignac has fooled people into thinking he was a Khalid Bin Al-Saud, a wealthy Saudi prince. For years, Gignac posted photos of his seemingly lavish lifestyle on his Instagram. From Ferraris to Rolls Royces to Rolex watches to stacks of cash to Louis Vuitton items to luxury yachts to private jets to bottles of expensive champagne to extravagant dinners to his signature ring with a giant diamond that was probably cubic zirconia.
Fooling people into thinking he was an affluent prince from Saudi Arabi, the 48-year-old Gignac was able to swindle $8 million from investors. Gignac even had business cards referring to himself as “Sultan,” fake diplomatic license plates and official paperwork for his bodyguards.
He informed potential investors that they needed to shower him with gifts when they met because it was protocol when dealing with a royal prince. He rented a condo on the exclusive private Fisher Island in Miami.
Anthony Gignac, 48, received the sentence Friday in Miami for stealing at least $8 million while pretending to be “Sultan Bin Kahlid Al-Saud.” He bought a Ferrari, Rolex watches and rented a condo on an exclusive South Florida island with his loot. He pleaded guilty in March to wire fraud, impersonating a diplomat and other crimes.
“Over the course of the last three decades, Anthony Gignac has portrayed himself as a Saudi prince in order to manipulate, victimize, 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,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida stated.
It gets even crazier because Anthony Gignac is not even Middle Eastern. He was born in Colombia and his birth name is Anthony Moreno. He was adopted by a couple in Michigan when Anthony was 7-years-old.
At the age of 17, Anthony began developing this fake persona of a Saudi prince. Over the past 30 years, Anthony was arrested 11 times for identity theft and impersonating other people including opening credit cards in other people’s names. Anthony claims that he is suffering from mixed personality disorder.
Then in 2017, Gignac made one critical mistake that revealed his true identity. Gignac told Jeffrey Soffer that he wanted to invest in his prized property — the iconic Fountainebleau hotel in Miami Beach. Gignac convinced Soffer that he wanted to invest millions of his royal family’s fortune into the luxury resort. Soffer showered Gignac with $50,000 in luxurious gifts.
Then at a business dinner, Soffer noticed something extremely peculiar about Sultan Bin Kahlid Al-Saud — he loved eating pork. Soffer became suspicious that the devout Muslim Saudi sheik was eating bacon. Eating pork is strictly prohibited in Islam.
Soffer then hired a private security group to investigate Gignac and discovered that he was not the Saudi royal prince like he said he was. The investigators provided their findings to federal authorities, which eventually led to the arrest of Gignac.
By posing as an Arab royal, Gignac fleeced 26 victims around the world between 2015 and 2017. Earlier this year, Gignac pleaded guilty to a wire fraud conspiracy, wire fraud, aggravating identity theft and impersonating a diplomat, including using fake diplomatic license plates.
This week, U.S. District Judge Cecilia Altonaga sentenced Gignac to 18 years in prison for his crimes. “He was the so-called Saudi prince. He enveloped himself in the trappings of Saudi royalty. He had everyone believing he was a Saudi prince,” Judge Altonaga said.
“The entire blame of this entire operation is on me, and I accept that,” Gignac said in court. “I am not a monster.”
As for all of the stolen luxury goods, the U.S. Marshals Service said it will auction the extravagant items in an attempt to reimburse those who were fooled by the fake prince.