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A Hollywood unscripted producer’s story of befriending an Irish “heiress” and eventually loaning her nearly $70,000 before learning she wasn’t the royal she claimed to be is becoming a multi-part podcast.
iHeartMedia and AYR Media are releasing Queen of the Con: The Irish Heiress, a new, eight-part take on a story chronicled in The Hollywood Reporter in Feb. 2020, on Thursday, Sept. 30. Johnathan Walton, the American Ninja Warrior and Shark Tank producer who befriended and later launched an investigation into purported heiress Marianne “Mair” Smyth, uncovering dozens of alleged scam victims in the process, is hosting and executive producing the series from iHeartMedia and AYR Media.
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The podcast will follow Walton’s journey from becoming best friends with Smyth, his neighbor, to loaning her money while he was under the impression that she was locked in a contentious battle for her inheritance. Later, after uncovering that she was not who she said she was, he found a network of other people who claimed Smyth owed them money. (Walton eventually took Smyth to court; she was found guilty of grand theft.) Walton says he has uncovered 45 other alleged victims.
“I used to think con artists were people you’d see in movies and TV shows,” Walton says in a statement about the show. “They weren’t real, and if they were, I’d certainly be able to spot one. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Con artists are everywhere – your new boyfriend or girlfriend, your coworker, your neighbor – and the good ones, like Marianne Smyth, can get away with scamming people for decades undetected because most victims remain silent.”
The first two episodes of the podcast will be released on Sept. 30 on all platforms and the following episodes will arrive weekly after that. In the podcast, Walton speaks with Smyth’s estranged daughter, several alleged victims, neighbors, childhood friends, among other sources.
“From impersonating celebrities like Jennifer Aniston and blackmailing married men, to posing as a psychic, mortgage broker and even a cancer patient, Mair robbed and terrorized countless victims across the globe – including a notable politician, lawyers and the mentally ill,” says executive producer and AYR Media founder and president Aliza Rosen in a statement. “Johnathan’s bravery and courage to fight for what is right is incredibly inspirational and I’m excited for listeners to hear his cautionary tale first-hand.”