You might have heard of them from history. You might know one firsthand yourself. Unknowingly, they might even be your friend or neighbor. Or maybe you’re lucky enough to only hear about them on the news or on a true crime podcast. We’re talking about con artists. These masters of deception wheel and deal, fulfill heists, and bamboozle from the ground up, and these stories are recounted in frightening podcasts.
Podsauce has rounded up 6 con-based podcasts running the gamut from petty theft and fraud to white collar crime. Hear from victims and swindlers, investigators assigned to the con artists’ cases, and scammers’ family members who were often left in the dark. Listen to the shows as hosts unpack fraudsters’ work. Some of our picks feature listeners’ stories.
On our list, we have podcasts detailing historical scams, comedic takes on con artists’ stories with guests from other podcasts, international heists, and Ponzi schemes. Hang onto your head, heart, and wallet, be cautious, and see our complete list below:
Actress and podcast host Laci Mosley is taking a comedic look at con artistry and fraud in Earwolf’s series, “Scam Goddess.” Join the “con-gregation” to hear about scams hitting the news, swindles from history, heists, and more. Laci is joined by guests, many from the podcasting world. Recent appearances included “My Favorite Murder’s” Georgia Hardstark, “Back Issue‘s” Tracy Clayton and Josh Gwynn, “Toxic: The Britney Spears Story’s” Tess Barker and Babs Gray, just to name a few. A recent episode covered LuLaRoe’s multi-level marketing business model. Laci will also read listeners’ submissions about cons they committed or frauds they’ve fallen for. Tune in for new, weekly episodes.
Have You Seen this Man?
When computer salesman John Ruffo pled guilty to conning over $350 million+, he was sentenced to jail for 17 years in 1998. On his way to return his ankle monitor, John drove to JFK Airport and was never seen again. ABC News investigated and followed the U.S. Marshals’ manhunt around the world and discovered John’s extensive lies and seedy past. In the episodes, hear from law enforcement working the case, John’s accomplices, John’s wife who realizes she never truly knew her husband, and more. The investigative team followed listeners’ clues during season two. Both seasons are now streaming.
Chameleon: Hollywood Con Queen
“Chameleon” investigates a new con artist each season. Season one followed the “Hollywood Con Queen,” a master of disguise who preyed on people’s dreams since around 2013. Hollywood hopefuls were lured into entertainment gigs by the con artist’s impersonation of film industry executives, then sent on wild goose chases where the Con Queen would extract money for things like expenses along the way from victims. The second season headed to Las Vegas to unpack an undercover FBI investigation of diet clinic owner Emile Bouari’s shady practices. This podcast is a Campside Media Presentation.
Queen of the Con: The Irish Heiress
When Mair Smyth met reality TV producer Johnathan Walton, he felt graced by an angel. Johnathan and Mair became best friends. Mair was allegedly in the midst of fighting with her Irish family over her $25 million inheritance. When Mair asks Jonathan for legal help, Jonathan learns startling truths about Mair’s international con artistry, scamming him and others out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Her scams included blackmail, a false cancer diagnosis, BDSM sex rings, witchcraft, and more. When Jonathan learned Mair also scammed a Los Angeles politician, will he join forces with other victims to stop Mair? Or does Mair slither away and move on to scamming more victims?
World’s Greatest Con
Host Brian Brushwood invites listeners on his exploration of swindles, cons, and heists in his quest to find the “World’s Greatest Con.” This season discussed plans to con Hitler during WW2. The Allies’ leaders created Operation Husky, the plan to take over Sicily. This con job was executed through Mincemeat, a false campaign to make Hitler believe they were going to attack the Balkans instead – a fascinating listen. Season one’s five episodes are now available to stream, and “World’s Greatest Con” is a Dog and Pony Show Audio production.
“Swindled” uncovers true crime stories, frauds, schemes, and more cons in over 100 episodes. Hear about Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff, The Peanut Corporation of America’s food-borne contamination event, negligence and a nightclub fire in Rhode Island, “The Killdozer” Marvin Heemeyer, and more. Average length of episodes is an hour, with new episodes posted weekly.