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Grifter: True Crime
27 minutes | 9 months ago
#8 Impostor Duchess, Part 1
In 1920, in Berlin, a woman was seen standing on the edge of a bridge and moments later, she jumped into the river, attempting to take her own life. She was saved and transferred to Dalldorf asylum, because she wouldn’t speak or identify herself. In the next two years of her stay, she was given the name Anna Anderson and was noted as being anti-social, with strange scars on her body. Soon, a fellow patient identified her as a missing Russian duchess - Anastasia Romanov - daughter of Tsar Nicholas, who was murdered in 1918 by his Bolshevik guards. Except, not everyone believed her story and those people set out to prove Anna was a lying impostor.
30 minutes | 10 months ago
#7 Six Degrees Conman
A young aspiring actor moved to New York in the 1980s, to pursue a life of fame and glamour. However, he never managed to land an audition, so he decided to direct himself and find his own stages - which ended up being the living rooms of wealthy and naive Manhattan elites. His various misdemeanours earned him a notorious reputation and inspired the hit play “Six Degrees of Separation”.
26 minutes | 10 months ago
#6 Fake Footballer
A Brazilian footballer signs with several top football clubs during his decades-long career. He's charismatic, funny and jovial, and charms everyone he meets. But every time he's asked to play, he mysteriously gets injured and has to stay off the pitch for several weeks. He convinced others of his talents and moved from club to club, avoiding football and partying hard. He was the footballer who never played football - not once - and still got signed. This episode details his incredible story.
34 minutes | 10 months ago
#5 Literary Hustler
A young boy is thrown into a troubled life on the road with his teenage mother, Sarah. He becomes addicted to heroin and gets infected with H.I.V. He suffers physical and sexual abuse and seeks violent relationships because of that abuse. Thankfully, with the help of a social worker and a psychiatrist, he gets his life back on track and becomes a published author. But the boy, always donning a blonde wig, fedora hat and dark sunglasses, is shrouded in mystery. It soon becomes apparent that the boy is not the person he's led the literary world to believe. In a twisted and painful tale littered with deception, erotica and suffering, the reality of JT LeRoy comes to surface in what would eventually become known as one of the greatest "literary hoaxes" of our time. Sources: 1) Vanity Fair: https://www.vanityfair.com/style/2006/04/jtleroy200604 2) The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2016/jul/20/jt-leroy-story-modern-literary-hoax-
26 minutes | 10 months ago
#4 Cancer Con
Belle Gibson, a disgraced wellness blogger, falsely claimed she was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2009 and given four months to live. She also claimed to have successfully cured her cancer through dietary changes and natural remedies. She built a massive social media empire and had a net worth of $420,000 thanks to her brand, The Whole Pantry. This episode discusses a story of deception, a tale that duped millions in the reckless pursuit of fame.
25 minutes | a year ago
#3 The Smoothest Conman That Ever Lived
Today’s episode puts the spotlight on the smoothest conman that ever lived. Victor Lustig gained notoriety for attempting (successfully) to sell the Eiffel Tower, on two separate occasions. He amassed a fortune by scamming his victims using a “money box” that he claimed could duplicate $100 bills and even duped Al Capone, one of the wealthiest and most dangerous mobsters in America at the time. Sources: 1) Smithsonian Magazine (Jeff Maysh): https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/man-who-sold-eiffel-tower-twice-180958370/ 2) Smithsonian Magazine (Gilbert King): https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/the-smoothest-con-man-that-ever-lived-29861908/
24 minutes | a year ago
#2 The Lost Carnegie
Cassie Chadwick a.k.a Elizabeth Bigley defrauded several American banks out of millions of dollars by claiming to be Andrew Carnegie’s illegitimate daughter. She pulled off one of the greatest bank heists during the Gilded Age in American history - when women weren’t allowed to vote or get loans from banks. Sources: 1. Smithsonian Magazine: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/the-high-priestess-of-fraudulent-finance-45/ 2. The Vintage News: https://www.thevintagenews.com/2016/11/22/the-turbulent-life-of-cassie-chadwick-the-impostor-who-claimed-to-be-carnegies-illegitimate-daughter/
26 minutes | a year ago
#1 Hipster Grifter
This episode follows the story of the sensational Hipster Grifter from Utah, a charming twenty-something girl from Utah who swindled her way through Brooklyn’s hipster community. She was sentenced to jail time for passing bad checks and taking thousands of dollars from her victims, while telling colourful stories about coughing up blood, cancer and unwanted pregnancies. Sources: 1. The New York Observer: https://observer.com/2009/04/the-hipster-grifter/ 2. ABC News: https://abcnews.go.com/Business/hipster-grifter-kari-ferrell-speaks-jail-bad-checks/story?id=8552059
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