12 episodes

Ryan Scott, known to some as “Father Ryan,” was no ordinary con man. He’d been accused of abusing followers and enriching himself with their money. He's left a wake of angry people across multiple states. And that’s not all. There are questions surrounding the brutal deaths of two priests he associated with. Investigative reporter Alex Schuman explores Scott's bizarre, quizzical, and sometimes dangerous world.

Smoke Screen is an investigative documentary series on people with complex motives and morals. Follow characters on the fringes of society - con artists, cult leaders, corrupt politicians - as they seduce their marks and bend communities to their will. Join us as we unravel their stories and bring justice to the people they've deceived.

Want the full story? Unlock all episodes of Smoke Screen, ad-free, right now by subscribing to The Binge. Plus, get binge access to brand new stories dropping on the first of every month — that’s all episodes, all at once, all ad-free.

Just click ‘Subscribe’ on the top of the Smoke Screen show page on Apple Podcasts or visit GetTheBinge.com to get access wherever you listen.

A Sony Music Entertainment production.

Find out more about The Binge and other podcasts from Sony Music Entertainment at sonymusic.com/podcasts and follow us @sonypodcasts.

Smoke Screen: Fake Priest The Binge

    • True Crime
    • 4.7 • 129 Ratings

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Requires subscription and macOS 11.4 or higher

Ryan Scott, known to some as “Father Ryan,” was no ordinary con man. He’d been accused of abusing followers and enriching himself with their money. He's left a wake of angry people across multiple states. And that’s not all. There are questions surrounding the brutal deaths of two priests he associated with. Investigative reporter Alex Schuman explores Scott's bizarre, quizzical, and sometimes dangerous world.

Smoke Screen is an investigative documentary series on people with complex motives and morals. Follow characters on the fringes of society - con artists, cult leaders, corrupt politicians - as they seduce their marks and bend communities to their will. Join us as we unravel their stories and bring justice to the people they've deceived.

Want the full story? Unlock all episodes of Smoke Screen, ad-free, right now by subscribing to The Binge. Plus, get binge access to brand new stories dropping on the first of every month — that’s all episodes, all at once, all ad-free.

Just click ‘Subscribe’ on the top of the Smoke Screen show page on Apple Podcasts or visit GetTheBinge.com to get access wherever you listen.

A Sony Music Entertainment production.

Find out more about The Binge and other podcasts from Sony Music Entertainment at sonymusic.com/podcasts and follow us @sonypodcasts.

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Requires subscription and macOS 11.4 or higher

    An Unholy Priest

    An Unholy Priest

    Investigative reporter Alex Schuman hears about a guy accused of swindling millions who has travelled the Midwest for decades pretending to be a priest. Alex starts his journey talking to two people who have long tried to expose the truth. Alex is hoping to finally figure out why anyone would try to pull off such an elaborate con.



    Want the full story? Unlock all episodes of Smoke Screen, ad-free, right now by subscribing to The Binge. Plus, get binge access to brand new stories dropping on the first of every month — that’s all episodes, all at once, all ad-free.



    Just click ‘Subscribe’ on the top of the Smoke Screen show page on Apple Podcasts or visit GetTheBinge.com to get access wherever you listen.



    A Neon Hum Media & Sony Music Entertainment production.



    Find out more about The Binge and other podcasts from Sony Music Entertainment at sonymusic.com/podcasts and follow us @sonypodcasts.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    • 37 min
    Coming Home

    Coming Home

    Alex tracks down Father Ryan’s son, Jonathan Brady, and discovers Father Ryan was a scammer and manipulator long before he wore a priestly robe. Turns out he had plenty of practice committing fraud before he opened his first church in Wisconsin.



    Want the full story? Unlock all episodes of Smoke Screen, ad-free, right now by subscribing to The Binge. Plus, get binge access to brand new stories dropping on the first of every month — that’s all episodes, all at once, all ad-free.



    Just click ‘Subscribe’ on the top of the Smoke Screen show page on Apple Podcasts or visit GetTheBinge.com to get access wherever you listen.



    A Neon Hum Media & Sony Music Entertainment production.



    Find out more about The Binge and other podcasts from Sony Music Entertainment at sonymusic.com/podcasts and follow us @sonypodcasts.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    • 38 min
    The Teacher

    The Teacher

    Even con artists need mentors. Meet the false prophet who teaches Father Ryan how to perfect his con. Father Ryan evades criminal charges again and Alex learns about an unspoken reason prosecutors could let many criminals go free.



    Want the full story? Unlock all episodes of Smoke Screen, ad-free, right now by subscribing to The Binge. Plus, get binge access to brand new stories dropping on the first of every month — that’s all episodes, all at once, all ad-free.



    Just click ‘Subscribe’ on the top of the Smoke Screen show page on Apple Podcasts or visit GetTheBinge.com to get access wherever you listen.



    A Neon Hum Media & Sony Music Entertainment production.



    Find out more about The Binge and other podcasts from Sony Music Entertainment at sonymusic.com/podcasts and follow us @sonypodcasts.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    • 37 min
    Llama Drama

    Llama Drama

    After Father Ryan steals a follower's money, her property and even her husband's ashes, she hires a lawyer. A legal battle ensues over unpaid loans and a herd of llamas that Father Ryan leaves high and dry.



    Want the full story? Unlock all episodes of Smoke Screen, ad-free, right now by subscribing to The Binge. Plus, get binge access to brand new stories dropping on the first of every month — that’s all episodes, all at once, all ad-free.



    Just click ‘Subscribe’ on the top of the Smoke Screen show page on Apple Podcasts or visit GetTheBinge.com to get access wherever you listen.



    A Neon Hum Media & Sony Music Entertainment production.



    Find out more about The Binge and other podcasts from Sony Music Entertainment at sonymusic.com/podcasts and follow us @sonypodcasts.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    • 38 min
    Meet The Browns

    Meet The Browns

    A sheriff deputy arrests Father Ryan for taking more than $70,000 from an elderly follower. It's looking like he might get 7 years in prison, but then he meets a father-daughter pair of private investigators who change everything.



    Want the full story? Unlock all episodes of Smoke Screen, ad-free, right now by subscribing to The Binge. Plus, get binge access to brand new stories dropping on the first of every month — that’s all episodes, all at once, all ad-free.



    Just click ‘Subscribe’ on the top of the Smoke Screen show page on Apple Podcasts or visit GetTheBinge.com to get access wherever you listen.



    A Neon Hum Media & Sony Music Entertainment production.



    Find out more about The Binge and other podcasts from Sony Music Entertainment at sonymusic.com/podcasts and follow us @sonypodcasts.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    • 39 min
    No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

    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.



    Want the full story? Unlock all episodes of Smoke Screen, ad-free, right now by subscribing to The Binge. Plus, get binge access to brand new stories dropping on the first of every month — that’s all episodes, all at once, all ad-free.



    Just click ‘Subscribe’ on the top of the Smoke Screen show page on Apple Podcasts or visit GetTheBinge.com to get access wherever you listen.



    A Neon Hum Media & Sony Music Entertainment production.



    Find out more about The Binge and other podcasts from Sony Music Entertainment at sonymusic.com/podcasts and follow us @sonypodcasts.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    • 39 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
129 Ratings

129 Ratings

meliknox ,

Good story!

The story is good and I can tell a lot of effort went into it is why 5 stars. But something about the way Alex talks, his nasal voice, is so distracting to me that I end up missing out on the story. So many ppl were interviewed but you don’t hear them talking for long. And every time it goes back to Alex’s voice I lose interest bc I’m irritated by his voice. Then I read a review that said the priest’s son doesn’t appear in future episodes which will be very disappointing, although I have a feeling there’s a good reason for that.

britinohio ,

Distracting sound effects

I gave up on what was clearly a fascinating story due to the intrusive background sounds. A pity the reporter didn’t simply tell the story.

Nanc Y ,

Well told complex story

Alex takes us through a complicated story of a fake priest conman. He does a great job keeping the narrative moving forward and exposing the complexities of relationships and crimes when the conman is a “priest.”
Loved it! I highly recommend and could not stop listening.
My only tiny complaint (no stars deducted) is we needed to hear more from the son.

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