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Anthony Gignac, 48, has been sentenced to 18.5 years in prison after spending years impersonating Prince Sultan Bin Khalid Al-Saud of Saudi Arabia and swindling wealthy investors out of millions (Miami Dade County Sheriff’s Office)
A 48-year-old Miami con man was sentenced to more than 18 years in prison on Friday after having spent years impersonating Prince Sultan Bin Khalid Al-Saud of Saudi Arabia and swindling wealthy investors out of millions.
Anthony Gignac, who reportedly suffers from mental illness as a result of a traumatic childhood, has spent the majority of his life falsely claiming to be various Saudi royals. He has documented the tremendous wealth he’s accumulated by defrauding investors rigorously on his social media accounts, which show off his private jet, expensive meals, diamond-encrusted hands, Rolex watches and beloved chihuahua, Foxy.
Prosecutors painted a picture of a criminal “mastermind” with no regard to the lives he ruined financially throughout the duration of his trial, which concluded on Friday. Gignac is believed to have conned dozens of wealthy individuals worldwide out of more than $8 million over the last few years, but he insists that there are others who should also be held accountable.
“The entire blame of this operation is on me, and I accept that,” he told U.S. District Judge Cecilia Altonaga, before arguing that “other people” should also have been charged.
“I am not a monster,” he added, according to the Miami Herald.
Gignac has been in and out of prison most of his adult life over the last 30 years and has been arrested at least 11 times, prosecutors said.
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The Miami native is a U.S. citizen but was born in Bogota, Colombia, where his brother claimed they were abandoned by their parents. They were adopted by a family in Michigan, and allege that they experienced abuse as children.
Gignac’s brother reportedly said it would be too painful to attend the trial, but prepared a statement to be read in court in his brother’s defense.
“This horrific history is the underlying reason for his criminal life,” Gignac’s brother said of him. Specifics on their upbringing are not available.
Gignac impersonated Prince Sultan Khalid Al-Saud, the 79-year-old governor of Mecca (HASSAN AMMAR/AFP/Getty Images)
Gignac’s criminal enterprise began in 1987 after he secured a California state ID identifying himself as Khalid al-Saud. The real Khalid Al-Saud is the 79-year-old governor of Mecca. Gignac went to great lengths to impersonate Al-Saud, even ripping photos of the prince and posting them to his own Instagram account: @PrinceDubai_07.
In 1991, at the age of 21, Gignac swindled the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Los Angeles for a $3,488 bill and a limousine company for $7,500 while posing as a Saudi prince. He was arrested and pleaded no contest to charges of grand theft, credit card abuse and check forgery, and was labeled as the “Prince of Fraud” by the Los Angeles Times.
That arrest proved to be the tip of the iceberg, as Gignac continued to spend the next 26 years impersonating Saudi royals and creating a criminal enterprise.
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In 2015, he joined forces with a North Carolina businessman, Carl Williamson, to create Marden Williamson International. The fraudulent company reportedly presented Gignac as a member of the Saudi royal family who was offering exclusive business deals and investment opportunities.
Things began to change for Gignac in 2017, when he expressed interest in purchasing the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami. He met with esteemed real estate developer Jeffrey Soffer, who became interested in negotiating a deal for the $1 billion hotel with who he believed was a legitimate investor.
Federal authorities were tipped off to Gignac’s scheme by real estate mogul Jeff Soffer, who became suspicious of Gignac while they were discussing a deal for the con man to purchase the Fontainebleau hotel in Miami. (Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images for Rush Philanthropic Arts)
Soffer reportedly shelled out $50,000 for gifts to woo the “Sultan Bin Khalid Al-Saud” — and the two began to spend more time together in business meetings and aboard private jets. Eventually, however, Soffer became suspicious and began to doubt that Gignac was really who he said he was.
In particular, he was tipped off by the fact that Gignac frequently consumed pork products, which goes against the practices of the Muslim faith.
His security team began to investigate Gignac and discovered his true identity, and reported him to federal authorities.
Gignac was arrested and charged alongside his business partner Carl Williamson, who later committed suicide.
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The ensuing trial stretched on for the last two years and has concluded with an 18.5-year prison sentence for Gignac.
All of his wealthy trappings flaunted on his Instagram account including Cartier bracelets, his red Ferrari and diamond rings are set to be auctioned off to pay back millions he stole from the 26 victims of his crimes.
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