An exterior view of the Fontainebleau Miami Beach (aka Fontainebleau Hotel), Miami Beach, Florida, USA, circa 1960. The con man who impersonated Saudi Prince Khalid was working on a bid for a portion of the Fountainebleau before his arrest last year. (Photo by Archive Photos/Getty Images)

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The Bizarre Story of the Con Man Who Claimed to Be a Saudi Prince

Anthony Enrique Gignac lied about his connection to royalty for three decades.

Anthony Enrique Gignac has spent a large percentage of his adult life impersonating royalty, most notably Saudi Prince Khalid bin al-Saud. The story of the con man awaiting trial in Miami on a variety of fraud and impersonation charges is as twisty as they come, with multiple prison stints, millions of dollars constantly in flux, and countless people fooled.

Gignac spent the early years of his life as an orphan on the streets of Colombia, a time filled with immense suffering, before his eventual adoption by a Michigan family. From an early age, Gignac would assume an identity, telling his classmates his mother was a hotel owner and his biological father was Dom DeLuise.

By the time of his arrest last year, Gignac had duped high financiers across the country, always telling them he had the backing of the Saudi royal family. During his last era of scheming, he claimed to be selling early access to Aramco’s I.P.O., and was negotiating a purchase of 30 percent of Miami Beach’s Fontainebleau hotel for $440 million.

In front of those he wanted to con, he claimed to FaceTime the Saudi king, and occasionally to take calls from Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

Gignac’s alternately bizarre and devastating story includes some of the most lavish cons in recent US history.

Read the full story at Vanity Fair