Narrated by Whoopi Goldberg, ABC’s ‘The Con’ is a documentary series that details some of the most shocking fraud cases in recent times. It showcases how the victims are misled by false promises that have both emotional and financial repercussions, by having them explain it to us in their own words. The show also outlines how different con artists use unsuspecting individuals from all over the world for their own personal gain.
Its second episode, ‘The Heiress Con,’ chronicling Marianne Smyth’s scams and how she managed to evade legal consequences until her own “best friend,” whom she also duped, turned against her, is no different. Want to know more about her and where she is now? We have got your back!
Who Is Marianne Smyth?
Born as Marianne Andle in Bangor, Maine, Marianne graduated from Bangor High in 1987, after which she moved to Tennessee. According to her long-estranged family, she told everyone there that she was suffering from breast cancer and needed money for her treatments. From this lie, she managed to con her friends and neighbors, people who had genuinely learned to care for her, out of thousands of dollars. Subsequently, with her obsession with wanting to be Irish or at least have a connection from there growing, in 2000, Marianne went to Northern Ireland for a vacation.
In Ireland, she ended up meeting a local and marrying him, becoming Marianne Smyth. She then stayed in the country for about nine years. In Belfast, Ireland, Marianne worked as a mortgage broker in the early to mid-2000s, conning 26 victims for more than $500,000 before vanishing for good. When she realized that she was about to get caught by the authorities there, Marianne ran away, returning to the United States, where she underwent plastic surgery to alter her appearances slightly. And then she again proceeded to do what she did best: lie.
In Los Angeles, Marianne befriended Johnathan Walton and convinced him that she was an Irish heiress whose cousins were trying to sabotage her, scamming him out of nearly $100,000 in total. She told a similar story to various other people, both in and outside his circle, pretending to either be a life coach, a psychic, a psychologist, a lawyer, or a travel agent. Sometimes, Marianne even went back to her trusted cancer act. She has low blood iron, so she would purposefully avoid iron-rich foods to get herself admitted into hospitals for transfusions.
While there, she would ask nurses to take her photograph as “proof” of her cancer treatments and make her hoax all the more believable. Marianne Smyth used at least 23 different aliases in all her years, including Mair Smyth with Johnathan, Mair Aine as a psychic, and Marianne Welch in two separate states to financially benefit herself and deceive over 45 innocent individuals. But after Johnathan found out that his “best friend” had lied to him about almost everything, in 2017, he filed a complaint with the LAPD, alleging theft by trickery.
Where Is Marianne Smyth Now?
It took 11 months for Johnathan’s case to be investigated thoroughly, but in April 2018, Marianne Smyth was finally arrested at the halfway house where she was hiding and charged with grand theft for scamming him. It turned out that she had already been charged with felonies for fraud and grand theft in Florida and Tennessee.
Marianne was released on bond, so just one month before her trial, she filed a fraudulent restraining order against Johnathan, asserting that he was threatening her with physical violence. In easier words, she wanted him to legally not be allowed in the same room as her so that he couldn’t testify at her criminal trial. Fortunately, a judge refused to grant the restraining order, and Marianne’s trial went ahead as scheduled.
On January 9, 2019, after four victim testimonies, several witness statements, a myriad of irrefutable evidence, and the only defense being that Johnathan had concocted the whole story up and had also convinced others to back him, the jury found Marianne Smyth guilty of the charges against her. And soon, she was sentenced to five years in prison. Therefore, Marianne is currently incarcerated at the Century Regional Detention Facility in Lynwood, California, where she will remain until her release, which according to state records, is projected to be on February 25, 2021. (Featured Image Credit: JohnathanWalton.com)
Read More: Where Is Johnathan Walton Now?