Stories of lies and deception
Scams and cons have always been a topic of interest in popular culture but con artist entertainment is certainly having it’s moment. From pyramid schemes to medical fraud, these are stories of charismatic false prophets, money and deception that leave trails of destruction in their wake. We have selected a few of this genre to get you started.
For more on The Theranos/Elizabeth Holmes story, take a look at our Pod The Theranos Scam
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Kiwi-born Ollie Wards chronicles how his brother’s whirlwind romance with a charismatic Californian con woman ultimately cost his family more than a million dollars. With kooky plot twists to rival a Hollywood movie, the 7 episode series follows Ollie from sleepy suburban New Zealand on an international investigation spanning Hawaii, the UK and the US.Play
Chameleon unspools the story of one of the weirdest and wildest scams in history. Over the past seven years, hundreds of Hollywood gig workers have been fooled into flying to Indonesia for a movie that doesn’t exist. Tag along as two long-time journalists untangle the story of the Hollywood Con Queen scam, and embark upon an obsessive quest to figure out who’s behind it.Play
The woman who scammed New York. It was a scandal that shook a city’s wealthy elite. In Fake Heiress, a podcast from BBC Radio 4, journalist Vicky Baker charts the rise and fall of Anna Delvey, who conned New York high society into believing that she was a multi-millionaire heiress. Here Vicky explains the story of one of the most successful impostors of our time.Play
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The Dropout tells the story of the rise and fall of former Silicon Valley darling Elizabeth Holmes, the youngest self-made female billionaire. She dropped out of Stanford to launch her company Theranos — claiming her technology could detect hundreds of diseases from a drop or two of blood. If it worked, she would have changed healthcare forever. ABC News Podcasts.Play
Dr Ruja Ignatova called herself the Cryptoqueen. She told people she had invented a cryptocurrency to rival Bitcoin, and persuaded them to invest billions. Then she disappeared. Jamie Bartlett spent months investigating how she did it for the Missing Cryptoqueen podcast, and trying to figure out where she’s hiding. He presents a story of greed, deceit and herd madness.
The founders of WeWork thought they were on the brink of making history. The company was valued at $47 billion dollars, it was ready for a huge IPO, and its charismatic CEO Adam Neumann thought they were going to change the world. Adam had a prophet-like vision for WeWork that he sold to some of the world’s savviest investors — but did his vision ever match the company’s reality? WeCrashed is a six-part series about the rise and fall of WeWork. It’s a story of hope and hubris, big money and bigger screwups, and the lengths people will go to chase “unicorns.”Play
As Bernie Madoff’s $65 billion dollar Ponzi scheme collapsed and the Wall Street financier went behind bars, he left behind a mystery. In this Audible Original series, journalist Steve Fishman, chases the question of how it happened and why, and includes hours of unheard conversations with Madoff from prison, as well as interviews with law enforcement and victims. A six part series from Audible Originals.Play
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He was born Hamish Watson, a surfie dude from Sydney – but he could morph into whatever you needed him to be. In early 2019 Hamish was sentenced to 16 years in jail for swindling a handful of victims out of more than $7m. But these crimes were just the final pages in a resume too thick to staple; for decades he duped victims in the US, Canada, Britain, Hong Kong and Australia. How did he do it? How did he evade authorities around the world for so long and what’s he done with all those tens of millions of dollars he stole?Play
What makes a good con artist? Podcast
How does the brain of the con artist differ from the rest of us? Are we more likely to be tricked when we’re emotionally vulnerable? In The Confidence Game, author Maria Konnikova surveys con artists from different walks of life, from global swindlers to small-time street hustlers. In this podcast she takes a look at the con artist’s shared traits of narcissism, psychopathy and machiavellianism, and suggests how some of the skills of the con artist might be redeployed for the greater good.Listen here