How a con artist posing as an Irish heiress scammed me out of thousands –

One of the tragedies of the American education system, Johnathan Walton wryly observes, is that most Americans don’t know too much about Ireland. Just a few years ago he had no idea that Northern Ireland and the Republic were two separate political entities.

His own impression of this country was limited to Far and Away, the cheesy Tom Cruise film that was shot outside Dingle in 1991, and Lucky Charms, the neon-coloured breakfast cereal that has a leprechaun as a mascot. “It’s embarrassing, but those things are reference points for the average American,” he laughs.

And so when a new neighbour claimed to be an Irish heiress with a colourful backstory, this normally shrewd, Emmy awardwinning reality TV producer took her at face value.

“It was the summer of 2013,” he recalls, setting the scene. “I was living in a nice apartment building in downtown LA and I’d just finished

Continue reading this atricle at