A Woman Claiming to Be a Psychic Witch and Irish Heiress Has Been Scamming Folks out of Money

Marianne Smyth is an accomplished actor. It's a shame she chose to use her gifts to take advantage of people.

Jennifer Tisdale - Author

Mar. 26 2024, Published 5:59 p.m. ET

The art of the con is so prolific, that it even has its own Wikipedia entry. The list of con artists dates back to William Chaloner who was hung for his crimes in 1699. He began with counterfeiting which ultimately allowed Chaloner to purchase his own house. From there it was a hop, skip, and a jump to lottery ticket fraud that eventually landed him in prison. He was prosecuted by Sir Isaac Newton, the king of gravity, and put to death. We've certainly come a long way since then.

Article continues below advertisement

From Charles Ponzi to Jen Shah, the world is filled with tricksters. Some, like Elizabeth Holmes, are more dangerous than others. On occasion, we are almost delighted by the grifts people can pull off. For example, Anna Sorokin was a character in her own right who many don't find fault with because she stole from the rich Robin Hood-style. Now, a new swindler has entered the pantheon and her name is Marianne Smyth. Thankfully she skews more Sorokin than Holmes. What did she do? Let's dive in.

What did Marianne Smyth do?

According to the Associated Press, Smyth "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." In 2021 Jonathan Walton started a podcast called Queen of the Con after Smyth, his former friend, conned him out of $100,000. "She’s a master of disguise completely changing her appearance and her grift to suit each mark," he told the AP.

Article continues below advertisement

Their friendship began in Los Angeles and was built on Smyth picking up the check at expensive restaurants while whisking Walton away on fancy vacations. Smyth was always decked out in high-end fashion but when she needed money to post bail because her bank account was allegedly frozen, things took a turn. She also claimed to be waiting on a $7 million inheritance from her rich family who lived in Ireland. When Walton figured out she was incarcerated after stealing $200,000 from the luxury travel agency where she worked, that was it.

Article continues below advertisement

Jonathan Walton wasn't the only one taken for a ride by Marianne Smyth.

Walton started his podcast to find others who were fleeced by Smyth. Soon, tips were coming in from all over the country. Heather Sladinski, a costume designer in Los Angeles, 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." When Smyth wanted Sladinski to perform a strange ceremony using a chicken, that was meant to help get her ex-boyfriend back, Sladinski cut her off. Then Smyth began threatening calls.

In 2016, Tess Cacciatore met Smyth through a business partner who had hired her as a psychic. Although she never gave Smyth any money, she was still on the receiving end of some bizarre whoppers. Smyth told Cacciatore that she was best friends with Jennifer Aniston, had cancer, and was on the verge of inheriting $50 million. She even created fake emails from Aniston wherein she invited the two of them to a Golden Globes party.

Article continues below advertisement

Where is Marianne Smyth now?

As of the time of this writing, Smyth is sitting in a jail cell in Maine waiting for her April 2024 hearing. This will determine whether or not she is extradited to the United Kingdom for crimes she allegedly committed between 2008 and 2010 in Northern Ireland. She stands accused of stealing $170,000 from victims in the span of those two years.

Authorities in Northern Ireland say Smyth "stole money that she had promised to invest and arranged to sell a victim a home but took the money." Her grifting was so good, Cacciatore said she would have been an excellent actor. "She would have worked a lot and not gone to jail. She is so good at what she did," she told the AP.

More from Distractify

Latest Human Interest News and Updates

    Opt-out of personalized ads

    © Copyright 2024 Distractify. Distractify is a registered trademark. All Rights Reserved. People may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. Offers may be subject to change without notice.