Anthony Enrique Gignac
Anthony Enrique Gignac
|Other names||Prince Adnan Khashoggi, Prince Khalid Bin Al-Saud|
|Occupation||Con man and fraudster|
|Criminal status||Remanded in custody|
|Conviction(s) 11||Fraud, Identity theft, Impersonating a foreign diplomat|
|Criminal penalty||18 years' imprisonment|
Anthony Enrique Gignac (born 1970) is a convicted American (Columbian born) fraudster and con artist. In a career spanning 18 years, Anthony used wealthy, high-ranking personas, most notably that of Saudi Prince Khalid bin Al Saud, to fraudulently secure investment in a series of schemes that he presented as being backed by a large personal fortune. After defrauding funds of $8.1 million from investors, Gignac was arrested in 2017 after billionaire Jeffery Soffer, the owner of the Fontainebleu Hotel (which Gignac had fraudulently claimed to be intending to invest in), became suspicious of the supposed Muslim Prince ordering pork at a restaurant. He was jailed for over 18 years in 2019.
Anthony and his younger brother, Daniel, were born in Columbia and orphaned at an early age. Anthony's difficult upbringing and the role he was forced to play as a caregiver for his brother have been cited as reasons for his descent into criminality later in life. In 1977, at age 6, Anthony and his brother were adopted by a middle-class Michigan couple and moved to the United States.
As early as age 12, Gignac began to pass himself off as a member of royalty, convincing a salesman at a Mercedes dealership to allow him to test-drive a car by claiming to be the son of a Saudi Prince. Starting in 1988, Gignac has been arrested 11 times for schemes in which he impersonated a member of Saudi or Middle Eastern royalty, using the alias "Prince Adnan Khashoggi" (after the eponymous Saudi arms dealer), and later the "Prince Al Saud" persona. In 1991, the LA Times dubbed him the "Prince of Fraud" after a scheme in which he fraudulently racked up hotel and limousine bills, promising that they would be covered by members of the Saudi royal family, which resulted in a two-year jail sentence.
Gignac continued to engage in similar frauds throughout the 90s and early 2000s, using his false identity as a Prince to run up bills of tens of thousands of US dollars, and coerce expensive "gifts" with the promise of striking beneficial deals with victims in the future. In one instance, he was able to convince a American Express to issue him with a platinum card with a $200 million dollar credit under the name of the real Prince Al Saud, claiming that his previous card had been lost and that failing to supply him with a new one would anger his supposed father, the King. In 2003, Gignac was arrested after attempting to charge $29,000 of department store fees to the account of the real Prince Al Saud, which resulted in a 77 month conviction in 2006. Gignac claimed during his interrogation that he had been offered a real line of credit from the Saudi royal family as hush money after having an illicit affair with a real Saudi Prince.
In 2015, Gignac worked with a North Caroline business partner, Carl Marden Williamson, to set up the company Marden Williamson International, which was used to accrue funds for a variety of fraudulent international investment opportunities, including a purported private offering of a Saudi company. Gignac and his partners received investments totally several million dollars in this venture, including one investor who fronted $5 million. In 2017, Gignac made contact with billionaire Jeffery Soffer, claiming to want to purchase a $440 million stake in the Fontainbleu Hotel. Soffer initially believed Gignac's false identity, offering him rides in his private jet, and purchasing gifts of jewellery totalling over $50,000 to win the so-called Prince's favour. However, Soffer became suspicious of Gignac after observing the purportedly Muslim Prince order pork at a restaurant, and subsequently hired a private security firm to investigate him, ultimately leading to the uncovering of Gignac's true identity and his arrest. Gignac's associate, Carl Williamson, was also charged, but died following a suicide attempt shortly after being brought in for interrogation. In 2019 Gignac was sentenced to over 18 years in prison on charges of fraud, identity theft, and impersonating a foreign diplomat.
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- Weaver, Jay. "Fake Saudi prince from Miami gets 18 years for string of scams. But 'I'm not a monster.'". Miami Herald. Miami Herald. Retrieved 6 August 2022.
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- Huddleston, Tom. "How a fake Saudi Prince conned investors out of nearly $8 million". CNBC. Retrieved 6 August 2022.
- Winikoff, Janet (3 June 2019). "Anthony Gignac: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know". Heavy.com. Retrieved 6 August 2022.
- Chazanov, Mathis (24 October 1991). "Prince of Fraud Pleads No Contest After a Merry Run". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 6 August 2022.
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- ÁLVAREZ, JOHANNA (20 June 2018). "Man who called himself Saudi prince idnicted in Miami". Miami Herald. Retrieved 6 August 2022.
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- "Scamfluencers: Fake Saudi Prince | Catch Me If You Scam | Part One on Apple Podcasts". Apple Podcasts. Wondery. Retrieved 6 August 2022.