Princess really a pauper: Fake Saudi royalty tries to scam Chubb, ends up in mental ward

By James Quiggle
August 1, 2005
Princess Antoinette lived a starlit fantasy life many women only dream about.

The angelic-looking woman with soft eyes rubbed elbows with Manhattan’s high society at charity balls, swanky cocktail openings and fashion shows. She wore designer clothes and expensive jewelry, including a diamond tiara. She was a regular on the society pages of glossy magazines.

Manhattan’s social elite knew her as Princess Antoinette, a member of the Saudi royal family.

Indeed, Princess Antoinette lived a fantasy life.

Including her own.

Princess Antoinette wasn’t Saudi royalty.

She was Antoinette Millard, daughter of a Buffalo steelworker. The lights finally dimmed on a glittering charade the fragile woman couldn’t hold together.

Millard is now a convicted insurance swindler sentenced to a mental hospital.

Expensive pretend life

Here’s how it happened: Millard was an investment banker in Manhattan before she quit and started making the rounds of New York City’s uppercrust society events. She convinced socialites, celebrities and upscale stores she was a Saudi princess. Well-heeled insiders opened doors to high society everywhere she went.

Millard bought nearly $500,000 in diamond bracelets, rings and earrings to play the part. She told everyone she’d inherited the stuff from her mother, who was also Saudi royalty, Millard said.

Her manic spending continued without letup. She charged more than $1 million to her no-limit American Express Centurion card in just three months.

With debts piling up and her expensive society façade to maintain, the walls were closing in.

Millard needed cash fast –– insurance cash.

Insured her jewelry

So she stashed her jewelry in a bank vault. She quickly insured the pieces, telling Chubb she was going away for plastic surgery to revive her supposed Victoria’s Secret modeling career.

Millard then switched to out-of-vault coverage just 11 days later. The policy let her briefly remove the jewelry from the vault. She then took out 23 pieces, and told Chubb someone mugged her and stole the jewelry on Madison Avenue while she was walking home from the bank.

She made a claim for $262,000.

But Chubb looked closer, and Millard’s insurance claim soon crumbled. It turns out she’d sold many of the “stolen” pieces to a Midtown jewelry wholesaler a month before buying the insurance. A jewelry appraisal she gave Chubb to “prove” the jewelry’s value also was forged. And the Saudi embassy said it had never heard of Princess Antoinette.

Millard was arrested at her apartment in Manhattan’s Upper East Side. At trial, she gamely tried to explain away her bogus insurance claim, fake identity and rash spending: She was manic depressive, and traumatized by child abuse, sexual harassment at work and watching people jump from the World Trade Center on September 11, she insisted.

Admitted she’s mentally ill

The would-be and never-was princess also sued American Express. Millard claimed the company should’ve known she was unstable and shouldn’t have let her charge so many purchases. They settled out of court.

But Millard finally stopped fighting. She pleaded guilty to insurance fraud and attempted grand larceny in August. She could’ve spent up to 15 years in prison. But instead she agreed to spend a year confined in a psychiatric facility, where she’ll receive intense treatment.

“Everything just collapsed for her. She’s sick, very sick,” her lawyer admitted.

Glittering Princess Antoinette will wear her diamond tiara no more.

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