Scammer who claimed to be Irish heiress should be extradited to UK, judge rules

A convicted scammer who claimed to be an Irish heiress and who is accused of stealing tens of thousands of dollars from several alleged victims should be extradited to the UK, a federal court in the US has ruled.

Marianne Smyth, who accusers say has also fashioned herself as a witch, a psychic and a friend to Hollywood stars, has been in a Maine jail waiting to learn if she will be extradited.

She faces allegations that she stole more than 170,000 dollars (£135,000) from people from 2008 to 2010 in Northern Ireland.

US magistrate judge John Nivison ruled on Thursday that there is sufficient evidence to certify her extradition to the UK to face charges.

A lawyer for Smyth, who has declined to comment in the past, did not respond to phone calls and emails on Thursday.

The judge’s ruling that she should be extradited could help bring about the end of a bizarre saga in which alleged victims have painted Smyth as a master of disguise and a veteran travelling grifter.

Smyth faces four counts of fraud by abuse of position under the UK Fraud Act of 2006, and four counts of theft in violation of Northern Ireland’s Theft Act of 1969, Judge Nivison wrote.

Authorities overseas have said Smyth stole money that she had promised to invest and arranged to sell an alleged victim a home but took the money. A court in Northern Ireland issued arrest warrants for her earlier this decade.

Antony Blinken
Judge Nivison wrote that she will be in custody of the US Marshals Service pending a decision on extradition by US secretary of state Antony Blinken (Evelyn Hockstein/Pool Photo via AP)

Smyth’s victims included Johnathan Walton, a podcaster who warned others about her. Smyth was found guilty of stealing tens of thousands of dollars from Mr Walton and spent about two years in jail.

The two had grown close in Los Angeles, and Smyth told Mr Walton she was due an inheritance of seven million dollars from her wealthy Irish family, but Smyth’s story began to fall apart when Mr Walton learned she was jailed for stealing 200,000 dollars from a travel agency she worked for.

Walton used his podcast to gather tips from Smyth’s other accusers. Some of those accusers said Smyth started a fake charity and others said she posed as everything from a cancer patient to Jennifer Aniston’s best friend.

Smyth, who is in fact American, was found and arrested in Maine in February.

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