This story will snap you back into reality, letting you know that all that glitters isn't gold. In today's digital age, we are prone to fall prey to many scams. Scammers have been very good at fooling a person into giving up a huge chunk of their money.
Such is the story of an American orphan who pulled one of the smoothest scams. Being a member of a Royal Saudi family is no joke. Despite his past, he decided to be one of the biggest con artists, and he proved it by becoming a millionaire.
A born liar
The story of this smart con artist began in 1970 when Jose Moreno was born in Colombia. Although there is very little known about his past, it is hard to understand the truth, as he was a born liar. Jose thrived when he deceived others, and he learned all this while being raised on the harsh streets of Colombia.
Jose claims that he had a horrible childhood. It seems that he witnessed the death of his brother from his father's hands. They were poor and could not afford to feed him. But he soon moved to Michigan, where he was adopted and his name changed to Anthony Gignac.
A sex slave in Colombia
Anthony loved to tell stories from a young age. Not real ones, though; he made up stories that sounded impossible and unimaginable. He soon started telling these stories to his adopted parents in Michigan. It was supposed to be a fresh start for both the brothers, but the kind of stories he went on sharing made his parents re-think his mental health.
He would make up stories about being captive in Colombia and being held as a sex slave and many other things that seemed impossible. The real problems started when he shared these stories with his friends at school.
Taking him to a therapist
These stories were getting far fetched even with the therapist. It seemed like he was not going to change anytime soon. He tried to impress his friends at school by telling them that his new parents owned half of Detroit.
The family got questioned about it, and they could not have been more shocked. Gignac's family confronted Anthony about this, and he would not cooperate. More stories would emerge, and his parents were not ready to take on this problem anymore.
The Gignac family was in trouble
Added to these problems, the Gignac's were going through some personal problems themselves. Their marriage was in trouble, and they decided to split. This news hit Anthony hard, and he started troubling people around him even more.
Anyone around him knew that he makes up stories that do not make any sense. He had very few friends, and those who were his friends were encouraging him to lie more. Anthony ran away from home at 17, and there is no news on what happened to his brother.
Getting into Juvie
After running away from home, he needed a new place to stay in. He spent some time in a juvenile detention center, but he got out and continued his work. It never bothered him that he was living a life of fake stories.
Once he was away from home, the ideal thing for him to do, was to stay under the radar. But he was up to something else. He had recently learned that Saudi Men were rich and powerful. Having read scary stories about what they are capable of, he framed his fake story accordingly.
Fooling yet another family
The family that opened their doors to him believed the elaborate fake story he had weaved. It was 1987, and he claimed that he was the son of a rich Saudi man. This powerful family was reportedly searching for him, and he was running away from this so-called crazy family.
He made up all sorts of stories about being caught by the Saudi secret police and that he was in great danger. They were naive enough to believe the young man and did not bother to cross-check if this is real.
He never stopped his act
Surprisingly enough, he managed to stay in this house for a long time, and they did not bother to check with the authorities about this. But this fake play was not going to go on anymore.
The police showed up at their doorstep one day, and they arrested him for fraud. They caught him live in the act of faking his identity, pretending to be the fifty-year-old arms dealer Adnan Kashoggi. Anthony took on a lot of guts, and we wonder how he thought he could escape with this elaborate lie.
No amount of arrests or detentions helped him overcome this habit of telling lies. Once he was released from prison, he decided that he will be more careful with his identity. Since his second plan did not work out all too well, he decided to go back to square one.
He decided to stick to the story of being a Saudi prince. Many people believed him, despite his American looks. He was able to manage to get away with it because he had a plan in mind, which was mostly fail-proof.
How did he manage to do it?
He studied the lifestyle of the royal Saudis and decided to imitate their persona. Once he figured out that the Royal Saudi family portrays a lot of confidence, he used the same on himself. It was pretty easy for him to pull off, considering how the Royal Saudis live in real life.
They do not think twice before making a purchase. Whether it is a private plane or jewelry, they are not used to thinking twice about the things they set their heart on. Anthony arranged for a few fake license plates and other documents that made it look like he was the real deal.
Stealing thousands of dollars
His best strategy was confidence, and he would use that in every place possible. The main tactic used by him was to waltz into any place he wishes to and buy the most expensive item there. When it came to making an actual purchase, the card would get declined, and he would start yelling at the salesperson like it is their fault.
After much fake acting, he would agree to let them go and that he would make the payment later on. Often he would make people call him "Your highness, and this is how he got away with paying for thousands of dollars.
Sultan Bin Khalid Al Saud
He had the audacity to boss around people and expected them to shower him with gifts. He changed his name to Sultan Bin Khalid Al Saud and demanded people to show respect to him.
Anthony did not bother to learn even a single word in Arabic and most certainly did not act like one. The only thing he did was scream at people who questioned his authenticity. Following the rules of the country meant nothing to him, and he showed off his car and jewelry on social media, deceiving people for more than twenty years.
A free Ferrari
Pretty soon, he owned many fancy things like a white fur coat and fancy rings. To add to the effects, he even got a chihuahua and named him Foxy. He carried him everywhere in an LV bag and treated him like royalty.
Soon he started wearing expensive shirts and dined only in the best of restaurants. The most surprising thing he pulled off is walking away with a free Ferrari. After having walked into the showroom and yelled at everyone, the fake prince walked away with the keys.
Shopping spree with a fake name
Not even one store bothered to check this person's background to verify if he was a prince or not. Anthony was now used to this extravagant lifestyle as a prince. Not a single person dared to ask him about his authority or his money.
The fancier the place was, the more likely he would use his fake name to buy things. This orphan from Colombia flawlessly pulled off shopping in places like Saks Fifth Avenue in New York City. He carried on his grand scam for many years to come.
Tricking everyone possible
What's more? Not only did he fake large organizations to give him goods for free, he even tricked a guest into paying for his accommodation. Since the hotel here was not agreeing to his "pay later" scam, he promised a fellow guest that he would give him a small share of his oil field.
The guest agreed to this without any paperwork. One of his other grand escapes also included buying a $50000 watch from the Saks department store. There is not a single posh place that he did not try his luck in.
Luck was not going to be with him forever
If you are going to brag about your property to someone, make sure they are the right crowd. This situation is where Anthony went wrong and did something that would lead to his doom.
During a local party, he was boasting about his possessions to people there. After the party was done, Anthony was not ready to head back to his hotel all alone. In a drunken state, he did something that was one of the biggest mistakes of his life.
A wrong move
He invited two men to join him in his large suite in the Grand Bay Hotel in Miami. The gentlemen did not want to be disrespectful of the prince and agreed to join him. The moment they reached the room, the two men planned something evil.
They closed the doors and started beating him up black and blue. After knocking him out, they stole as many things as they could and took away most of his valuables from the hotel room.
An international case
The Miami police were more than scared when they found out that a prince was assaulted and robbed on their land. By any means, they did not want an international case on them, especially when it happened with a young prince.
They immediately called up the Saudi embassy, trying to figure out who Prince Khalil Bin Al-Saud was. And to their surprise, they had no idea who this prince was. Anthony was in for a long ride yet again in his life, but he managed to escape from Miami before the police could get their hands on him.
Escaped once again
The reputation and charm he created for himself made everyone around him believe him about his fake identity. If someone managed to question him about his authenticity, he would flash his Instagram profile by the handle princedubai_07.
Some hotels have a policy where a guest could not leave without making a payment. And when they twisted his arm to pay, fellow guests would offer to pay for him, assuming that a large gift would come their way for this kind gesture. His social media account was filled with luxurious cars and Foxy.
Stealing $16000 from a university
If you think that he was ready to retire from this life, you are headed in a different direction. He showed no sign of slowing down or improving his act even. Anthony would set up meetings with large corporates to try and take their money.
And not a single person checked this man's authenticity. He conned a university into giving him $16,000 for transfer changes after he made them believe that he would pay $45 million in a donation. How did one believe him when he did not speak the language or looked like a Saudi prince is a surprise.
His end was near
Finally, in the year 2017, his lies would come out in the open. He messed with the wrong person who knew many things about Arabic culture, being a millionaire himself. He was in touch with Carl Williamson, an investment manager who was trying to arrange clients for his fake sales in oil shares.
These clients were all eager to buy shares from the Saudi prince, so Carl invited Anthony for a meal. This is where his lack of research pushed him to his doom. When he met Carl and his supermodel wife Elle McPherson, he tried showing off a little too much.
Carl Williamson's observations
Being a millionaire himself, Carl had his doubts about this man's mannerisms from the start. But he chooses not to speak out and kept things to himself. A blunder was around the corner for Anthony to commit.
Anthony was offered an elaborate buffet of food, and among many, he chooses to eat pork. Carl was quick to observe this as he knew that no Saudi prince would dare eat pork, let alone in a public setting. Carl asked his men to look into Anthony's life and confirm if he is a prince.
Arrested yet again
All his lies and deception were coming to an end after Carl doubted the supposed prince. Having been arrested ten times in the past did not help with his case. Anthony was arrested in the past but did not face charges after he faked his way out of prison.
Each time he would bring up the fact that he was a prince that could destroy their lives. But this time, he was caught by someone big, and there was no way out. When he was allowed to make one phone call, he called a local lawyer. And the biggest mistake he committed here is that he ended up lying even to the lawyer.
Lying to his lawyer went horribly wrong
Having reported that he is from a different country, Anthony had to hire two bondsmen, who were also arrested that day along with Anthony. Since the lawyer had no idea about his fake claims, he requested the court to release him on bail along with his bondsmen.
The moment he got out of jail, he shamelessly walked into a local American Express office. He demanded that they give him a $200 million limit platinum card. Of course, they were not ready to hand one, but he used his old tactic once more.
A $200 million limit card
After he yelled down the entire place and threatened them, they handed over this expensive card to him. Very soon, he was back to shopping for luxurious items and showered his lawyer and his bondsmen with gifts.
But there was something that wasn't right, and the lawyer was quick to notice this. When they found out that he was faking his way through every place, they beat him up and put him in their car trunk. The next stop was at the Miami police station to hand over this fraud.
What's lost is lost
In the end, the con artist was behind bars and far away from this extravagant lifestyle. At the age of 48, he was finally caught for a crime that he has been committing since the age of 12. He confessed to his crimes and blamed no one but himself for these crimes. Even at this point, he claimed that he did not do anything bad he was only looking out for himself. He was sentenced to jail for 18 years and asked to pay restitution of $7 million. Of course, he did not have the money to pay off this large amount, so they ceased all his properties and possessions he owned.
Anthony owned way too many cars, yachts, paintings, and designer clothes. The jewelry they ceased was estimated to be around $450,000. You can imagine the price of the other items he had. Fajardo Orshan was assigned as his Attorney, and she stated some final statements about his crimes. Anthony Gignac successfully fooled and conned people around him for more than three decades by pretending to be a Saudi Prince. His scams caused huge losses to many organizations and families. Many of them won't even see a cent of their money lost. Ever thought that a homeless person would fake his way into richness?