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Scammer claimed to be a psychic, witch and Irish heiress, victims say as she faces extradition to UK – Monomaxos


BOSTON (AP) — She has crisscrossed the country saying she’s an Irish heiress, a psychic and good friends with a movie star in order to run scores of scams, her victims say.

But now Marianne Smyth is in a Maine jail awaiting a hearing next month that will decide whether she can be extradited to the United Kingdom over a scam dating back more than 15 years in Northern Ireland. The 54-year-old American is accused of stealing more than $170,000 from at least five victims from 2008 to 2010 in Northern Ireland, where a court issued arrest warrants for her in 2021, according to legal documents. She was located and arrested last month in Maine.

Her case has similarities to Anna Sorokin, a grifter convicted in New York of paying for a lavish lifestyle by impersonating a wealthy German heiress.

“She’s a master of disguise completely changing her appearance and her grift to suit each mark,” said Johnathan Walton, who started a podcast in 2021, “Queen of the Con,” to warn others about her after he said he was fleeced out of nearly $100,000. She was always dressed in designer clothes, but said she needed the money for things like a frozen bank account and to post bail, he said. She told him she was due an inheritance of $7 million from her wealthy family in Ireland, Walton said.

They grew close over several years in Los Angeles, when she bought him expensive dinners and luxury vacations, he said. But her story began to unravel when Walton realized she was jailed for stealing $200,000 from a luxury travel agency where she worked. She was later convicted of stealing from him and briefly served time in prison.

“She has no shame. And she has no conscience,” the 49-year-old reality television producer, author and public speaker said. “She revels in casting countless victims as unwitting actors in her elaborate schemes to defraud.”

Smyth’s attorney did not respond to a request for comment. From jail, Smyth referred questions to her attorney.

The podcast has drawn tips from dozens of victims from California to New York, Walton said. The tipsters described a fake charity for Ukraine as well as lies that she was an emissary for Satan, a witch, a hockey coach, a cancer patient and best friends with Jennifer Aniston. She often changed her name and appearance, her victims say.

“She honed in our vulnerabilities and got all our information and bank accounts,” said Heather Sladinski, a costume designer in Los Angeles who said she was scammed out of $20,000 for psychic readings, fake life coach sessions and cult-like retreats that included rituals, breathing exercises and yoga. Smyth was funny, smart and had credentials and other documents to back up her claims, Sladinski said.

The 50-year-old from Los Angeles blocked Smyth after she wanted to do a bizarre ritual involving a chicken to win back her ex-boyfriend, who had a restraining order against her, Sladinski said. Smyth then started making threatening phone calls and Sladinski “was so scared” that she moved homes. But after connecting with Walton, Sladkinski filed her own police report against Smyth and testified at Walton’s trial.

Tess Cacciatore, who owns a production company and nonprofit charity, never lost money to Smyth, but met her in 2016 through a business partner who had employed her as a psychic. Smyth claimed to be a cancer patient, even sending her a photo of her in a hospital gown, and said she was set to get a $50 million inheritance. Smyth also showed Cacciatore emails purportedly from Aniston and, at one point, invited her to join them at the Golden Globe Awards before abruptly canceling.

In Northern Ireland, government officials say Smyth stole money that she had promised to invest and arranged to sell a victim a home but took the money. She remains in the Piscataquis County Jail in Dover-Foxcroft pending the extradition hearing on April 17.

“She should have been an actress,” Cacciatore said. “She would have worked a lot and not gone to jail. She is so good at what she did.”





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