22 July 2022
Her Majesty’s Attorney General has worked with the United States Department of Justice in repatriating just under $529,000 to the United States in the case of Anthony Gignac, a Colombian-born, Michigan-raised resident of South Florida.
On 14 January 2019, Gignac was indicted by a Grand Jury for the Southern District of Florida, and subsequently entered pleas of ‘guilty’ in respect of conspiracy to commit wire fraud; wire fraud; aggravated identity theft; and impersonating a foreign diplomat. On 31 May 2019, he was sentenced to a total of eighteen years and eight months’ imprisonment.
According to the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida, Gignac’s criminal career spanned more than thirty years, and saw him defraud at least twenty-six victims, from at least five countries, out of more than $8 million. Gignac claimed to have access to exclusive ventures in Ireland, Malta and the Middle East, and lured his victims with apparent lucrative investment opportunities, as well as promises of favourable consideration in business deals.
Rather than carry out the fraud in his own person, Gignac adopted at least eighteen aliases, and portrayed himself as ‘Khalid Bin Al-Saud’, a fictitious Saudi prince. He posted photographs of members of the real House of Saud on his Instagram account; carried business cards bearing the titles ‘Prince’ and ‘Sultan’; purchased luxury goods appropriate to the lifestyle of a Saudi royal; installed counterfeit diplomatic licence plates on his car; and even obtained a fake US Diplomatic Security Service badge for his bodyguard.
To facilitate Gignac’s criminal activity, his co-conspirators would broker meetings between potential victims and ‘Khalid Bin Al-Saud’, producing documents supposedly issued by high-ranking Saudi officials, a Saudi law firm, and a Jersey-based financial entity. To complete the illusion, Gignac would adopt traditional Saudi attire, and the meetings would always be conducted in line with traditional protocol. In this way, Gignac’s victims were induced to present him with expensive gifts, such as jewellery and artworks, as well as invest in fraudulent business deals.
Using the proceeds of his criminal activity, Gignac leased a two-bedroom condominium at a cost of $18,500 per month, funded the use of a private jet, and purchased a yacht, numerous luxury cars, jewellery, and designer clothing. In addition, the US authorities identified $625,000 transferred to a Jersey-based account from one held in the name of an investment company set up by Gignac and his co-conspirator.
On 4 February 2022, the Royal Court granted a Saisie judiciaire and registered the Second Partial Final Order of Forfeiture made in the United States. Part of the frozen funds were returned directly to some of Mr Gignac’s victims, and in July 2022, $528,973.72 was repatriated to the United States to assist with compensating other victims.
Attorney General Mark Temple QC said: “Once again, this case demonstrates that Jersey is no place for criminals to conceal their illicit assets, and that every effort will be made to assist our counterparts overseas in ensuring that the victims of financial crime have their rightful assets restored”.