A con artist’s ex husband has told how he felt ‘sick to his stomach’ after learning she had raised $16,000 on fake GoFundMe using their dead daughter’s photo.
Jeff Welch told ABC’s The Con how Mair Smyth, who he met when they were both Navy Corpsmen, used an image of their daughter Courtney on the page. Courtney, who died in 2012 in her early 20s of cystic fibrosis, was estranged from her mother.
Smyth is now serving a five-year prison sentence for grand larceny after also pretending to be a fake Irish heiress and duping TV producer Johnathan Walton into giving her thousands of dollars.
Welch, who is a registered nurse, said: ‘Seeing this GoFundMe page – there was a picture of my daughter. [Smyth] had raised over $16,000 telling people she had a sick child. That made me sick to my stomach. I can’t believe that somebody would do something like that.’
Johnathan Walton, 45, a producer for the reality TV show American Ninja Warrior, told in February of this year how he was duped into giving $70,000 to Smyth.
She had pretended to be a fake Irish heiress who conned him into believing she was fighting for a 5million euro inheritance, and that her A-list friends included Jennifer Aniston and Ashley Judd.
Smyth is now serving a five-year prison sentence for grand larceny after pretending to be a fake Irish heiress and duping TV producer Johnathan Walton into giving her thousands of dollars
Jeff Welch, pictuted, told ABC’s The Con how Mair Smyth, who he met when they were both Navy Corpsmen, used an image of Courtney who died in 2012 in her early 20s of cystic fibrosis. She was estranged from her mother
Walton and Smyth met in 2013 at a meeting at his L.A. apartment complex to discuss residents having their access to the pool revoked.
They became close friends, with her telling him she was a member of a fictitious Irish royal family who stood to inherit 5million euros from her wealthy great uncle. Instead, Smyth was a con artist who had been targeting L.A’s elite for cash.
Now Smyth’s ex husband Jeff has also spoken out about her scams for the first time.
He added: ‘It was very, very apparent that she had no interest in being a mother, or a wife. After I became aware of all these stories of people being scammed it was a big shock to learn I was married to somebody that has done this much damage to so many people.’
‘[Smyth] had raised over $16,000 telling people she had a sick child. That made me sick to my stomach. I can’t believe that somebody would do something like that,’ Jeff said
Smyth had persuaded TV producer Walton to loan her nearly $10,000 so she could cover her rent after claiming her bank accounts had been frozen. She said at the time that she was in a dispute with her cousin’s over her inheritance, which had caused the freeze.
She also had him charge $50,000 to his credit cards when she was eventually arrested, and said she needed money to take a plea deal.
At the time, she managed to convince him that the arrest was a set-up orchestrated by the same cousins who she claimed wanted to squeeze her out of her great-uncle’s will.
Walton eventually realized he had been conned by checking court documents after Smyth’s arrest.
Smyth told Walton she was a member of a fictitious Irish royal family who stood to inherit 5million euros from her wealthy great uncle. Instead, Smyth was a con artist who had been targeting L.A’s elite for cash
In January 2019, she was eventually convicted of grand larceny and she has now been sentenced to five years behind bars.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Walton described how Smyth charmed him into making him her best friend with her dazzling tales of Hollywood friendship and her straight-talking personality.
‘Back then, I was a different person and I took everything at face value. That’s how they get in your life, they try to help you,’ he said, explaining that he fell for her offer of help in fighting their building about the pool restrictions.
Walton and his husband became friends with Smyth, and he and she became particularly close. As their friendship blossomed, she gradually revealed tidbits from her privileged background.
During a visit to her apartment, she pointed out to him a signed document that was framed on the wall which she claimed was the Constitution of Ireland. She pointed to a signature that she said was her great uncle’s.
She said she was due to inherit some of his fortune soon but that there were issues with his children.
To keep up the facade of a Hollywood power player, she said she did not have to work but wanted to and claimed to have friendships with Judd and Aniston.
She even showed Walton texts and emails which she said were from the pair.
‘She seemed wealthy, she seemed educated, she fit the part that she was playing to a T,’ he said.
Walton described how Smyth, pictured, together, charmed him into making him her best friend with her dazzling tales of Hollywood friendship and her straight-talking personality
Walton eventually realized he had been conned by checking court documents after Smyth’s arrest. In January 2019, she was eventually convicted of grand larceny and she has now been sentenced to five years behind bars
Smyth promised to introduce him to them but, every time they were due to meet, the ‘stars’ suddenly backed out.
He soon became ‘enthralled’ in her family drama.
‘It was like a soap opera plot, but it was happening in real life,’ he said, adding that he thought nothing of when she got liposuction and plastic surgery because ‘that’s what wealthy women do’.
As they became closer, she confided in him that there was a clause to her inheritance that if she had been convicted of a felony, she would lose it all.
He warned her that her cousins may set her up for a crime to try to squeeze her out of her share.
So when she was arrested for allegedly stealing $200,000 from PacificIslands.com – a luxury travel company she worked for to ‘pass time’ – he immediately suspected the cousins.
Walton paid her $4,200 bond money. One of her boyfriends paid him back.
Eventually, Smyth’s lies caught up with her. She is shown entering court after being arrested for grand larceny
Walton believed her story until February 2017 when, while logging on to the jail website to schedule a visit, he found discrepancies between what it said online and what she had told her
She then asked him for rent money, claiming her accounts had been frozen.
He got her a $5,800 cashier’s check. Then, when she moved into a cheaper apartment, gave her another one for $3,800.
Over the course of the next year, the case dragged.
Eventually, she told him she would be able to resolve it by paying a $50,000 plea deal fee. He charged it to his credit cards.
Then, she was hit with a 31-day jail sentence. She asked for another $4,000 to pay an expert witness to come to testify on her behalf. Walton then gave her another $2,000 to help her pay her lawyer’s fees.
He had believed her story until February 2017 when, while logging on to the jail website to schedule a visit, he found discrepancies between what it said online and what she had told her.
Walton discovered she had many aliases and appearances that she used to dupe people
Rather than being accused of ‘money laundering’, as she said, she had pleaded guilty to a different charge and agreed to pay $40,000 in restitution – not $50,000 – to settle it with PacificIslands.com.
The company said she had operated a Ponzi scheme with their accounts.
Walton picked her up from jail but only to confront her about her lies.
He then spent the next two years trying to bring her down, pumping his own money into hiring private investigators and lawyers.
It emerged through his research that she had also been accused of fraud in Ireland.
At her January 2019 trial, her daughter was among those who testified. She told how she was a ‘troubled person who has used her intelligence malevolently’.
The daughter added: ‘The things that she has been accused of I’m absolutely disgusted by.’
Walton learned through his research that she had targeted others. Many did not want to speak out because they were so embarrassed.
‘I think she moved here for the same reason we all moved here: to ply her craft.
‘Her craft was to scam people,’ he said.
A new episode of “The Con” airs WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 21 (10:00-11:00 p.m. ET), on The ABC Television Network