For 30 years, a man claimed to be a priest. He performed baptisms and took confession. Every time he ran into trouble, Father Ryan would move on to another small Midwestern town and start his scheme all over again. Followers who once worshiped him, now accuse him of exploitation, fraud and abuse. Multiple prosecutors have charged him, but he’s never been imprisoned for his crimes. Investigative reporter Alex Schuman, who hails from a small Iowa town himself, set out to find out how Father Ryan got away with it for so long and why on earth he did it. Along the way, he discovers Father Ryan has connections to a murdered priest, a false prophet, and an entire subculture where he and other frauds can thrive. In season one of Smoke Screen, join Alex Schuman as he unravels this con and gets answers from this white-collar criminal himself. Listen to Smoke Screen: Season 1 Fake Priest, an all-new podcast from Neon Hum Media.
Introducing Chameleon: Hollywood Con Queen
For the past 6 years, someone — or some group — has been terrorizing a certain class of Hollywood workers. Strivers — day players and physical trainers and make-up artists and security guards — receive a phone call or email offering the job of a lifetime. A key role on a major film, or TV show. This offer comes from a powerful woman — one of the biggest producers or studio executives in the industry. All these strivers have to do is get on a plane, for Jakarta, immediately. But when they land, there is no producer. There is no movie. It’s all a fraud. This is the incredible true story of one the longest and strangest cons in history. Tag along as two long-time journalists untangle the story of the Hollywood Con Queen scam, and embark upon an obsessive quest to figure out who’s behind it.
Episode 9: How To Get Away With Fraud
Until now, Father Ryan has mostly escaped punishment for stealing money from followers under false pretenses. What would it take for him to face a jury of his peers?
Episode 8: Origin Story
Alex Schuman finally has his showdown with Father Ryan. But things don't go as planned because Father Ryan has something to confess about his past that sheds light on why he wanted to become a "priest" in the first place.
Episode 7: Two Dead Priests
In his autobiography, Father Ryan connects himself to two priests who died suspiciously. One he accuses of molesting children. The other? He says he teamed up with to publicly shame pedophile priests. What's the truth?
Episode 6: No Good Deed Goes Unpunished
The father-daughter investigator team discovers the cop who arrested Father Ryan may have an ulterior motive. They defend Father Ryan tooth and nail - until they get a troubling surprise of their own.
Introducing BROKEN: Seeking Justice
Investigative Reporter Julie K. Brown exposed Jeffrey Epstein’s crimes to the world. Now his survivors are fighting for the truth. This season, host Tara Palmeri follows the women who are making their own justice.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Definitely very good.
Made me think I could do it...
I was riveted. Thank you, Alex.
Great job, Alex - captivating story and love the thorough investigation with this podcast.