Colombian-born pretends he was Saudi prince for years
** #8 How a Colombian orphan got away with pretending to be a Saudi prince for 30 years: From dressing his pet chihuahua in designer clothes to sporting a nine-carat diamond ring, Prince Khalid bin al-Saud’s (yes, “bin al-Saud”) wealth was never called into question for over 30 years. His true identity, however, was discovered last year after he was arrested at JFK for committing fraud and impersonating a foreign official. The fake “prince” was discovered to be Anthony Enrique Gignac, a Colombian orphan who had been adopted by an American family at age 5.
His life as a con man began long before he adopted Prince Khalid’s identity. At age 17, Gignac “was caught masquerading as ‘Prince Adnan Khashoggi,’ the notorious Saudi arms dealer, who was then the world’s richest man.” Over the following several years, Gignac was in and out of jail for racking up fraudulent credit card charges and swindling investors out of cash for ventures that didn’t even exist. Gignac’s storied history of fraud is spelled out in great detail in a lengthy but fascinating piece by Mark Seal for Vanity Fair.