11 episodes

What does it feel like to pick up the phone and scam someone out of $50 million? This is the story of Gilbert Chikli, one of the greatest con artists of all time. Host and award-winning journalist Evan Ratliff investigates how Chikli duped some of the world’s most powerful people into handing over their fortunes. He explores how Chikli evaded the law for years and became a Robin Hood-like hero. More than just a tale of criminal genius, this is a show about the moment we’re living in right now — the golden age of scammers — and the power of seduction. But what happens when the fantasy we’ve been lured into finally crumbles away?

Follow Persona: The French Deception wherever you get your podcasts, or you can listen early on Amazon Music or early and ad-free by subscribing to Wondery Plus in Apple Podcasts or the Wondery app.

Persona: The French Deception Wondery

    • True Crime
    • 4.6 • 11 Ratings

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Requires subscription and macOS 11.4 or higher

What does it feel like to pick up the phone and scam someone out of $50 million? This is the story of Gilbert Chikli, one of the greatest con artists of all time. Host and award-winning journalist Evan Ratliff investigates how Chikli duped some of the world’s most powerful people into handing over their fortunes. He explores how Chikli evaded the law for years and became a Robin Hood-like hero. More than just a tale of criminal genius, this is a show about the moment we’re living in right now — the golden age of scammers — and the power of seduction. But what happens when the fantasy we’ve been lured into finally crumbles away?

Follow Persona: The French Deception wherever you get your podcasts, or you can listen early on Amazon Music or early and ad-free by subscribing to Wondery Plus in Apple Podcasts or the Wondery app.

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Requires subscription and macOS 11.4 or higher

    Madame G

    Madame G

    In Paris, a banker receives a bizarre call from her boss. He says she'll soon be contacted by a secret agent about a confidential government operation.The instructions provided by the agent are simple: wait in a bathroom stall, listen for the password and then hand over a bag stuffed with hundreds of thousands in cash to a stranger through the stall door. Meanwhile, nearly 3,000 miles away in Israel, a musician is drawn into his new friend’s underground network. Thus begins the scam of the century.

    • 36 min
    Genius

    Genius

    Gilbert Chikli was known to friends and family in Israel as a flamboyant local celebrity, a Robin Hood figure, and an innovator who by necessity ended up on the wrong side of the law. But as Chikli galivants around town with new yachts and suitcases of money, the French authorities begin closing in. The situation may call for a daring escape.

    • 46 min
    Copycats

    Copycats

    When a young graphic designer is detained crossing the Bulgarian border, he finds himself inside a nightmare that lasts for years. The scam is wreaking havoc, and not always on who you’d expect. Gilbert Chikli’s invention has gone global, raking in billions of dollars a year from multinational corporations, tempting the most unlikely of co-conspirators, and cementing Chikli’s legend around the world.




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    • 42 min
    The Tiger Dossier

    The Tiger Dossier

    A series of mysterious phone calls to French embassies around the world prompt the authorities to start a new investigation. Someone is impersonating the French Minister of Defense, targeting foreign governments and wealthy French speakers. As the scammer fleeces an influential billionaire for $20 million, the police believe there’s only one man audacious enough to have pulled it off. Years later, Evan gains access to the case file and begins to retrace the investigators’ steps.

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    • 36 min
    The Mask

    The Mask

    As a new scam emerges in the south of France, investigators stumble upon a tantalizing new clue. Meanwhile, reports begin to circulate that some victims haven’t just talked on the phone to the Le Drian impersonator – they’ve spoken to him on video. Evan journeys to a medieval town in the heart of French wine country for new leads from a man who came face-to-face with the fake Minister.




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    • 37 min
    The Fat One

    The Fat One

    The French police are on the trail of a leader of the Le Drian affair, but all they have to go on is a nickname, “the Fat One.” Meanwhile the scammers have hooked their biggest target yet: a Turkish billionaire ready to hand over tens of millions of dollars. A new set of secretly recorded tapes brings Evan closer than ever to the center of the con. But revelations about the offshore money movements of the scam’s largest marks cast the villains and victims in a new light.




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    • 46 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
11 Ratings

11 Ratings

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