A Columbian man—who pretended to be a Saudi royal in order to swindle dozens of people out of millions of dollars—was sentenced to more than 18 years in prison on Friday.
Anthony Gignac, 48, scammed investors out of more than $8 million. Gignac used this money to fund his lavish lifestyle of private jets, yachts, Ferraris, Rolls-Royces, jewelry and designer clothes.
“Prince Khalid Bin Al-Saud ” was one of the many aliases he used to convince people he had access to lucrative business deals that came from his status as a Saudi Royal.
The Justice Department detailed his scheme in a press release:
Gignac falsely claimed access to exclusive business ventures throughout the world, including a pharmaceutical company in Ireland, a casino in Malta, luxury hotels, and a jet-fuel trading platform in the Middle East. In addition, Gignac offered investors the chance to purchase his alleged stake in Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil company – Saudi Aramco. Gignac supported his fraudulent scheme by forging documents from high-ranking Saudi officials purporting to verify his status as a royal, his access to great wealth, and his stake in Saudi Aramco.
In court on Friday, Gignac admitted responsibility. “The entire blame of this entire operation is on me, and I accept that,” Gignac said in court. But he also said others should have been prosecuted for the scams. “I am not a monster,” he said.
“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,” Ariana Fajardo Orshan, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida, 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.”
U.S. District Judge Cecilia Altonaga said that Gignac’s life of crime was “truly remarkable.” She referred to him as “the masterminded” of the scam.
Gignac pleaded guilty to aggravating identity theft, wire fraud, wire fraud conspiracy and including using fake diplomatic license plates to impersonate a diplomat.
[Image via Miami-Dade Police]
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