What would you do if you found out your best friend was an international con artist? And not only an international con artist, but one who had conned even you out of $100,000? When reality TV producer Jonathan Walton met Mair Smyth, she seemed to be a literal angel sent down to save him and his neighbors from a greedy landlord. She was well-connected, wealthy, and charming beyond compare. Her life story was captivating: an Irish heiress destined to inherit millions of dollars, only the rest of her family was trying to write her out of the will. But Walton learned quickly that this woman, who had become his best friend and trusted confidant, was not at all who she said she was. And he exposes her story in “Queen of the Con: The Irish Heiress.”
Meet Mair Smyth
Walton was not the only one she conned. In this podcast, he interviews friends of the queen, or at least, they thought they were friends. Many were his old neighbors: Walton first met Smyth when their apartment building banded together to push back against their landlord for use of the pool. Smyth claimed that her boyfriend was a prominent attorney who had sued their apartment complex before. Just a note to the landlord on her boyfriend’s letterhead would send the man running.
This was how they met. Over the years of their friendship, Smyth would spin a tale for Walton about some incredible parts of her life. She was a luxury travel agent who worked for PacificIslands.com, and for her service to the tourism industry there, she was often invited to stay at 5 star hotels. She had a print of the Constitution of Ireland hanging in her apartment, saying that her great-uncle’s signature was on it, making him one of the founders of Ireland. Later, she told Walton that the same great-uncle had died and left behind a $25 million inheritance, of which she was guaranteed $5 million. Smyth told Walton that she was sorority sisters and close friends with actor Ashley Judd, and would show Walton texts and emails from the entertainer.
Money is no object
She would invite Walton and his husband to expensive dinners and even weekend vacations to Palm Springs, always paying the bills. Walton opened up to her about his estranged relationship with his family, who did not accept his sexuality. Smyth shared a similar story: she had been alienated from her family, and her cousins were trying to have her written out of her uncle’s million dollar inheritance. She showed him threatening texts and emails from the cousins, all about how when she abandoned Ireland, she abandoned them.
Walton was intrigued. Not only did he care deeply for this woman, but her life was dramatic and sensational. But he was too close to see that his strange obsession made him vulnerable. In 2014, he received a collect call from a prison: Mair Smyth had been set up by her cousins, arrested on charges of stealing over $200,000 from PacificIslands.com. There was a strange clause in her uncle’s will that she had shared with Walton: if a family member were to ever commit a felony, they would not receive their millions. And her cousins, it seems, managed to get her arrested.
How many lives did she lead?
This was when Walton was bamboozled out of more, and more, and more money. From covering her bail and her rent, to paying legal fees, he was eventually out $100,000. It wasn’t until three years later that Walton would realize that he had been lied to this entire time.
And he was just one of many people who had been conned by this woman, whose name was actually Marianne Smyth. Walton started a blog to tell his story, and found her other victims. The stories you hear in “Queen of the Con: The Irish Heiress” are stories of fabulous wealth, adventure, and tragedy. She swindled away hundreds of thousands of dollars from Belfast to Los Angeles. You’ll hear how Walton went from the hunted to the hunter, figuring out her victim-targeting tactics and the court case that exposed all of her lies. Don’t miss iHeartRadio and AYR Media’s “Queen of the Con: The Irish Heiress.”