ABC News will debut the new primetime series “The Con,” narrated by Emmy®, GRAMMY®, Tony® and Oscar® winner and “The View” moderator Whoopi Goldberg, on Wednesday, Oct. 14. The series explores the troubling tales of people taken in by claims and promises that proved too good to be true, from identity fraud and misleading romance to the high-profile college admission scandal and Fyre Festival. It will reveal how the victims were fooled and the cost of their false trust – emotional and financial. ”The Con” will feature interviews with the key people caught up in the cons, including victims and eyewitnesses, and, in some cases, law enforcement and the perpetrators themselves. The series will lift the curtain on the people behind some of the most outrageous cons ever. “The Con” kicks off Wednesday, Oct. 14 (10:02-11:00 p.m. EDT), on ABC.
In the series premiere, Goldberg introduces viewers to Benita Alexander, an award-winning documentary television producer and single mother, and Paolo Macchiarini, an internationally renowned surgeon. Alexander meets Macchiarini while producing a documentary on his groundbreaking surgical techniques using stem cells in synthetic trachea transplants. Despite crossing professional lines, Alexander finds herself wooed by Macchiarini’s charm, intellect and good looks, and the pair quickly falls in love. After traveling the world together, the couple gets engaged and, according to Alexander, Macchiarini tells her he wants to take over planning the wedding. It quickly becomes a grand, fairy-tale affair with an impressive guest list, including Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and Elton John. He says they’ll even be married by the pope. However, weeks before their Italian wedding, Alexander realizes things aren’t as perfect as they seem and uses her investigative producer skills to uncover the truth behind Macchiarini and the planned wedding.
At around the same time, the Karolinska Institute, where Macchiarini performed some of his transplant surgeries, has been digging into allegations from Macchiarini’s colleagues that he fabricated parts of his medical research. Macchiarini eventually loses his position at the institute. His groundbreaking surgeries have been under investigation by Swedish prosecutors, and just last week he was indicted on charges of aggravated assault relating to three of his surgeries. A court date has yet to be set and Macchiarini has not yet entered a plea. He has denied all of the allegations against him. The premiere episode includes interviews with Alexander, her friends, family and former co-workers.
Each week, “The Con” will document a different con and its victims. Future episodes feature the stories of Johnathan Walton and con artist Marianne Smyth, who claimed to be an Irish heiress whose family was trying to swindle her out of her massive inheritance; Anthony Gignac of Michigan, who created a false identity to deceive people into thinking he was a member of the Saudi royal family; and the story of three women who paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to psychic frauds who preyed on their vulnerability and dependency.
For the series, David Sloan is senior executive producer, and Carrie Cook and Colleen Halpin serve as executive producers for ABC News. Eli Holzman and Aaron Saidman are executive producers for IPC, along with executive producer and director Star Price. The premiere episode of “The Con” is produced by ABC News. Other episodes in the series are produced by Industrial Media’s The Intellectual Property Corporation (IPC) for ABC News.