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United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida

05/31/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 05/31/2019 13:45

South Florida Resident Sentenced to More than Eighteen Years in Prison for Impersonating a Member of the Saudi Royal Family in Order to Swindle Millions from Investors

The Impersonation Scheme Involved Wire Fraud, Fake Diplomatic License Plates, Expensive Jewelry, Artwork, Luxury Automobiles, Yachts, Private Jets, and International Trips

Ariana Fajardo Orshan, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Frederick R. Stolper, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Department of State, Diplomatic Security Service (DSS), Miami Field Office, announced that Anthony Gignac, a/k/a 'Khaled Al-Saud,' a/k/a 'Khalid Al-Saud,' a/k/a 'Khalid Bin Al-Saud,' a/k/a 'Khalid Bin Sultan Al-Saud,' a/k/a 'Sultan Bin Khalid Al Saud,' 48, of Miami, was sentenced today by U.S District Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga to a total of 224 months in prison for fraudulently assuming the identity of a member of the Saudi Royal family in order to build relationships worldwide, including in South Florida, receive gifts, and conduct a large-scale scheme to defraud would-be investors.

'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. 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. He sold his victims on hope for their families, careers, and future. As a result, dozens of unsuspecting investors were stripped of their investments, losing more than $8 million,' stated U.S. Attorney Fajardo Orshan. 'Today, in a federal court of law, justice spoke for the victims, and Anthony Gignac will now face years in prison. The U.S. Attorney's Office commends the dedicated efforts of our partners with the Diplomatic Security Service for their commitment to this extensive investigation, their international reach, and their protection of our global community.'

'The Diplomatic Security Service is firmly committed to investigating allegations of crime related to international fraud schemes,' said DSS Special Agent in Charge Stopler. 'Our tremendous success in finally closing this case could never have been possible if not for the global reach of DSS and the close cooperation of the U.S. Attorney's Office.'

Gignac previously pled guilty to impersonating a foreign diplomat or foreign government official, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 915, aggravated identity theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1028A(1)(a), wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343, and conspiracy to commit wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349 (Case No. 17-CR-20891).

Beginning as early as May of 2015, Gignac claimed to be a Saudi Arabian Prince by the name Khalid Bin Al-Saud. To support his fraudulent persona, Gignac purchased fake diplomatic license plates, a fake Diplomatic Security Service badge for his bodyguards, traditional Saudi garb, luxury goods consistent with the lavish lifestyle of a Saudi Royal, and business cards referring to himself as 'Prince,' 'His Royal Highness,' and/or 'Sultan.' He ran an Instagram account depicting himself as a prince, with pictures posted of Saudi Royal family members, including the king, with captions such as 'my dad.' Gignac referred to himself as a prince when meeting with investors, in emails, and over the phone. He travelled with security, and demanded that certain royal protocol (i.e., gift giving) be followed when individuals met him to engage in business deals.

Gignac used his assumed persona to con investors by claiming that he had access to lucrative business deals by virtue of his royal status. To aid in that scheme, Gignac and a co-conspirator formed a fraudulent investment company called Marden Williams International LLC ('MWI'). Using MWI, 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.

Investors from all over the world were scammed into investing with Gignac and MWI. In all, investors from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Switzerland and Hong Kong sent Gignac close to $8 million. Those funds were not put into business opportunities, legitimate investments, or any interest-yielding source. Instead, Gignac used the money to finance his lavish lifestyle, including Ferraris, Rolls-Royces, yachts, expensive jewelry, designer clothing, travel on private jets, and a two-bedroom property on Fisher Island. Investors were also tricked into giving Gignac extravagant gifts like paintings, jewelry, and memorabilia.

In addition, on November 19, 2017, Gignac flew into John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, from London, using a passport in the name of another individual.

According to the court record, Gignac has executed similar schemes in the past. Between 1988 and the present, the Defendant has been arrested or convicted eleven different times for prince-related schemes.

A restitution hearing has been scheduled for August 30, 2019, at 2:00 p.m., before Judge Altonaga in Miami.

U.S. Attorney Fajardo Orshan commended the investigative efforts of the DSS in this matter. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Frederic Shadley. Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicole Grosnoff is handling the asset forfeiture aspects of this case.

Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov.