A multi-part podcast about a Hollywood unscripted producer who befriended an Irish "heiress" and finally loaned her over $70,000 before discovering she wasn't the princess she claimed to be is in the works.
On Thursday, Sept. 30, iHeartMedia and AYR Media will release Queen of the Con: The Irish Heiress, an eight-part adaptation of a story first published in The Hollywood Reporter in February 2020. The series is hosted and executive produced by Johnathan Walton, the American Ninja Warrior and Shark Tank producer who befriended and later initiated an investigation into supposed heiress Marianne "Mair" Smyth, unearthing scores of alleged scam victims in the process.
The podcast will follow Walton's path from becoming closest friends with his neighbor, Smyth, to lending her money while believing she was embroiled in a legal struggle over her inheritance. He later discovered a network of additional people who claimed Smyth owed them money after discovering she was not who she claimed to be. (Walton eventually prosecuted Smyth and found her guilty of grand theft.) Walton claims to have found 45 more alleged victims.
In a comment regarding the show, Walton adds, "I used to assume con artists were individuals you'd see in movies and TV shows." “They weren't genuine, and if they were, I'd be able to tell right away. I couldn't have been more off the mark. Con artists are ubiquitous – your new boyfriend or girlfriend, your coworker, your next-door neighbor – and the good ones, like Marianne Smyth, can get away with defrauding people for decades without being caught since most victims remain silent.”
The first two episodes of the podcast will be available on all platforms on September 30th, with new episodes arriving weekly after that. Walton interviews Smyth's estranged daughter, many alleged victims, neighbors, and childhood acquaintances, among other people, for the podcast.
“From impersonating Jennifer Aniston and blackmailing married men to posing as a psychic, mortgage broker, and even a cancer patient, Mair robbed and terrorized countless victims around the world – including a prominent politician, lawyers, and the mentally ill,” says executive producer and AYR Media founder and president Aliza Rosen in a statement. "Johnathan's bravery and tenacity in standing up for what is right is really inspiring, and I'm looking forward to hearing his cautionary tale firsthand."