For three decades, a man who fraudulently claimed to be Prince Sultan Bin Khalid Al-Saud of Saudi Arabia lived a lavish life fueled by Rolex watches, Ferrari sports cars and designer clothing – but the veil used to conceal his real identity slipped on Friday when he was sentenced to 18 years in prison.
His real name is Anthony Gignac, a 48-year-old Miami con man with a mixed personality disorder who was born in Bogota, Columbia – not Saudi Arabia as he so regularly claimed.
Prosecutors say that Gignac has been arrested at least 11 times over the past 30 years for impersonating Saudi royalty, spending much of his time in and out of prison.
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Gignac adopted several different aliases across the 30 years but the most part of his criminal enterprising, Gignac impersonated Prince Khalid, who in real-life is the 79-year-old governor of Mecca.
But on Friday, the long-running act came to a sensational end when a Miami federal court judge sentenced him to 18-and-a-half years in prison for defrauding dozens of investors – ranging from South Florida to England – in elaborate schemes where he posed as Saudi royalty looking for substantial investment projects.
Gignac also attempted to dupe billionaire hotel owner and Elle MacPherson’s ex-husband, Jeffrey Soffer, out of hundreds-of-thousands of dollars with a fake business proposition.
He admitted responsibility to the judge for illegally fleecing in excess of $8.1 million from his 26 unsuspecting victims, but he insisted ‘I’m not a monster’.
Attempting to mitigate his sentence, Gignac revealed to the court that he suffers from a number of mental health problems stemming from an abusive childhood both in Bogota and with his adoptive family in Michigan.
He insisted he wasn’t the lone mastermind of the operation, claiming to have worked among a racket of criminals who collaborated with him in the devious schemes.
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