7 Greatest Con Artist Shows And Movies Of All Time

Some con artists manage to avoid detection for decades before their cons are found out. Sometimes the stories about their cons are cons themselves.

January 06, 2022
Con Man extraordinaire Barry Minkow wears an orange prison jumpsuit, stares through prison cell gates, sunlight shines through

Con Man extraordinaire Barry Minkow

Photo by: Discovery, Inc.

Discovery, Inc.

Con Man extraordinaire Barry Minkow

Con artists use charm, money, and sex to fool their victims. Here are seven criminal masterminds who almost got away with it.

Catch Me If You Can

Frank Abagnale Jr wasn’t a doctor, lawyer, professor, or pilot, but he was great at passing bad checks and confidently impersonating well-educated professionals. In recent years, it’s come into question whether or not the stories about his cons were also cons.

Dirty John, the Dirty Truth

When handsome anesthesiologist John Meehan meets Debra Newell, a single, rich interior decorator, it’s love at first sight. They quickly marry, but Newell’s adult daughters immediately sense something isn’t quite right about their new stepfather.

Watch more about this case on discovery+ Evil Lives Here season 8, episode 1.

Fruitcake Fraud

The Collin Street Bakery in Corsicana, Texas, has been making the world’s fruitcakes since 1896 and ships their confections to almost 200 countries. Business operations were kept afloat by unassuming bookkeeper Sandy Jenkins, but he had a secret—in a decade-long scheme, the quiet man had managed to embezzle more than $17 million dollars to fund an outlandish double life.

woman stares at computer screen

Photo by: Discovery, Inc.

Discovery, Inc.

Dirty Little Lies

Who can you really trust when even the people you love aren’t who they seem? This six-episode series explores relationships built on lies about sex, celebrity, drugs, cheating, and missing money.

He Lied About Everything

A television producer working on a documentary about a surgeon on the cutting edge of artificial trachea transplants was smitten by the physician behind the devices. When Bennita Alexander’s work was done, she allowed herself to be charmed by Dr. Paolo Macchiarini, who wowed her with love and money. They were set to be married, but there were holes in the doctor’s story. Not only was he was lying about who would officiate their wedding, but he was also lying about the medical technology that he claimed would save lives.

King of the con artwork

Photo by: Discovery, Inc.

Discovery, Inc.

King of the Con

Barry Minkow appeared to be reformed by his seven-year stint in prison for fraud, racketeering, and tax evasion. While incarcerated, he had converted to Christianity and became the pastor of a California church when he was released. He started a new business aimed at helping discover the same types of fraud that had sent him to prison. There was just one thing—he wasn’t reformed, not in the least. King of the Con premieres on discovery+ on January 14.


McDonald’s had their winning Monopoly game pieces under lock and key, but the man responsible for the security of the entire sweepstakes was not as trustworthy as he seemed. Jerome “Uncle Jerry” Jacobson built an elaborate network of friends and relatives to ensure that only a select few handpicked people had a chance at winning any of the big prizes in the annual fast food contest.