A Florida man impersonated a Saudi prince for decades, cheating investors out of millions of dollars

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Photo:FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty Images
  • A Florida man impersonated a Saudi prince for decades, cheating investors of millions of dollars.
  • Anthony Gignac, who had five aliases including Khaled Al-Saud, pleaded guilty to identity theft and fraud, after living a lavish lifestyle.
  • Gignac has pretended to be a Saudi royal for decades, and has reportedly been charged numerous times. He now faces up to 20 years in prison.

A Florida man who pretended to be a Saudi prince for decades has admitted to defrauding investors of millions of dollars.

Anthony Gignac, who went by the name Khaled Al-Saud, pleaded guilty to identity theft and fraud on Tuesday. According to the US attorney’s office, the faux-prince and one of his co-conspirators created a fraudulent investment company, Marden Williams International LLC, in June 2015, and approached investors with “exclusive business opportunities.”

One of the schemes was the pre-IPO of a real business in Saudi Arabia. A single investor gave Gignac approximately $US5 million.

Gignac also developed an extravagant lifestyle to support his lies. The 47-year-old claimed he owned a residence on Fisher Island, an exclusive community off Miami Beach only accessible by ferry or helicopter. He had a sign on the front door which simply read “Sultan.”

He told people he had diplomatic immunity, and drove a Ferrari with fake diplomatic licence plates. He was gifted expensive jewellery and paintings based on his purported Saudi lineage.

Fisher islandWikimedia CommonsAn aerial view of Fisher Island near Miami Beach, Florida.

In March 2017, the phony royal attempted to purchase a multi-million dollar hotel in Miami, and stayed at the hotel using a credit card in the name of an actual member of the Saudi family.

Gignac also used several aliases for international travel. In November, he flew from London to New York City using a forged passport, before finally being apprehended by police.

Prince Khalid al Saud Saudi Prince CharlesChris Jackson/Getty ImagesThe governor of Riyadh Prince Khalid Bin Bandar Al Saud chats with Prince Charles chats on March 15, 2013.

When investigators searched Gignac’s home in Miami, they discovered fraudulent diplomatic security badges, unauthorised credit cards, financial documents of a real royal Saudi, rounds of ammunition, and thousands of dollars in US currency.

This isn’t the first time Gignac has been caught for impersonating a Saudi royal.

According to a 2008 profile by Ohio newspaper The Blade, Gignac assumed his Saudi identity at 17 and began scamming hotels, department stores, car dealerships, and credit card companies.

Court and prison documents reviewed by the Miami Herald reveal he was charged for similar crimes several times, the first time in 1991, then again in 1994, 1996, 2002, and 2006. His crime spree spanned California, Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, New York, and Florida, where he was most recently a resident.

Gignacfaces a maximum sentence of 20 years on fraud charges and is scheduled to be sentenced in August.

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