The sentence was handed down to 48-year-old Anthony Gignac by Judge Cecilia Altonaga, who said the man's life of luxury crime had been "extraordinary." It comes months after he pleaded guilty to "identity theft and fraud."
In a statement made after the sentencing, U.S. Attorney Ariana Fajardo Orshan said:
"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... to sell false hope. Dozens of unsuspecting investors were stripped of their investments, losing more than $8 million," she added.
Gignac creatively crafted his scam using fake diplomatic credentials and hiring a group of bodyguards to follow him everywhere.
For decades, he posed as Prince Khalid Bin Al-Saud and managed to pull it off. How? He lived in a luxurious Miami condo, drove a Ferrari with a forged diplomatic license plate and courted investors and gift-givers. The man also used "fake diplomatic papers and demanded to be treated according to royal protocol, which he used to justify demands for gifts from potential investors."
He used his fake identity to "persuade investors to put up millions of dollars for purported business opportunities that didn't exist." People deposited money into Gignac's bank account thinking he would invest it, but instead used the cash to fund his fake royal lifestyle.
According to the BBC, Gignac was born in Colombia and "was adopted by a family in the US state of Michigan at the age of seven. By 17, he had already started taking on the persona of a Saudi royal, using his alter-ego to con credit card companies, shop staff and investors." He's been arrested 11 times for "prince-related schemes" throughout his conman career.
Gignac has a long history in the identify theft field and was arrested several times for fraud.
His latest fraudulent scheme collapsed after a real estate developer saw him eating ham, bacon, and other pork products that wouldn't normally be consumed by devout Muslims since they're prohibited for people of the faith.
In November 2017, he was arrested and charged with 18 criminal counts, including electronic fraud and aggravated identity theft.