7 Podcasts Concerning the Artwork of the Rip-off

Starter episode: “Fantasy-Making”

If requested to call the third largest metropolis (by space) in California, after Los Angeles and San Diego, few folks would probably give the right reply: California Metropolis. That’s as a result of most individuals have probably by no means heard of this Mojave Desert city, which is each sprawling and eerily empty, with fewer than 7,000 residents. On this podcast, the journalist Emily Guerin traces town’s unusual origin story, starting within the 1950s when a person named Nat Mendelsohn had a imaginative and prescient for a booming desert metropolis. He bought tens of 1000’s of individuals on this plan, who purchased land in California Metropolis believing that it was a golden alternative. However this isn’t merely a historical past lesson — 60 years on, that land was nonetheless being bought to unsuspecting folks, a lot of them immigrants with goals of their very own. What begins as a narrative a few kooky city improvement challenge turns into a haunting saga about fraud, exploitation and the poisonous fantasy of the American dream.

Starter episode: “Turning Desert Mud Into Gold”

Pyramid schemes are alive and effectively within the 21st century, however they’ve advanced with the occasions and now largely function below euphemistic names like “multilevel advertising,” or M.L.M. Victims are lured in with the promise of getting wealthy from the consolation of their very own houses by promoting issues like magnificence merchandise, however typically find yourself in crushing debt due to the schemes’ predatory construction. The fascinating and horrifying first season of “The Dream” dives headfirst into the historical past and present panorama of M.L.M.s, specializing in the methods these schemes reel in susceptible folks — disproportionately feminine and infrequently low-income — by promoting them on entrepreneurship and “being their very own boss.” Extra not too long ago, the present’s second season explored a much less concise however nonetheless compelling premise: Is the wellness business a rip-off?

Starter episode: “Wanna Swim In Money?”

Should you’re not within the temper for a deep-dive collection, however wish to sustain on all that’s scammy, look no additional than the comic Laci Mosley’s wildly entertaining weekly present. Mosley, a self-proclaimed scammer in her personal proper (therefore the title), takes palpable glee in breaking down the small print of grand deceptions, alongside a rotating visitor forged of fellow comedians. An everyday “Historic Hoodwink” phase focuses on well-known circumstances, however Mosley & Co. additionally commit loads of time to small-time scams and newbie frauds, strolling a tonal tightrope that usually entails each empathy and derision for his or her topics. The result’s stunning, hilarious and sometimes cathartic.

Starter episode: “The Hilaria Hoax with Ira Madison III, Oscar Montoya, and Siobhan Thompson”

Although technically about an artwork heist reasonably than a conventional rip-off, this coproduction between WBUR and The Boston Globe gives an interesting glimpse into the interior workings of a seemingly unimaginable crime. In 1990, contained in the area of two hours, 13 items of artwork had been stolen from Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, together with items by Vermeer and Rembrandt. The scope of the theft is extraordinary, however what’s much more bewildering is that three many years later, the crime has nonetheless not been solved. Although inevitably irritating to hearken to at occasions, “Final Seen” can be good binge materials, with the host Kelly Horan’s hypnotic narration guiding listeners by a juicy, baffling, stranger-than-fiction story.

Starter episode: “81 Minutes”

The Wondery community has launched a variety of podcasts in regards to the lives of vicious liars — an abusive con artist in “Soiled John,” a horrifyingly unhinged spinal surgeon in “Dr. Demise,” and a infamous monster in “The Mysterious Mr. Epstein.” “The Shrink Subsequent Door” might seem to be comparatively gentle fare, particularly now {that a} display adaptation starring Paul Rudd and Will Ferrell is within the works, however beneath the wacky premise lurks unsettling truths in regards to the potential for abuse and manipulation in psychotherapy. Within the collection, Joe Nocera, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, unpacks the story of his neighbor within the Hamptons, Isaac Herschkopf, a psychiatrist whose relationship with one in all his sufferers goes off the rails in methods you’ll by no means see coming.

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