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18. The Gambler Part 2

Previously on Pretend Radio, we learned how Art Schlichter’s gambling habits destroyed Anita Barney life. She went from being the wealthy widow of a Wendy’s CEO to becoming broke and struggling to pay her light bill. It started out with a loan for $10,000. Art Schlichter said he needed the money to buy a car. Anita: “He just met me and he’s asking me for money. I was totally surprised but I didn’t know what to say. I said yes.” That was just the first loan. Slowly, he would borrow...


17. The Gambler part 1

This is the story of disgraced Ohio State quarterback Art Schlichter. In order to understand Art Schlichter’s crimes, you first have to understand how his story ends. Anita Barney, heiress and widow of a former Wendy’s CEO, lost every single penny her husband left her. Art Schlichter and Anita Barney How did it happen? Art Schlichter gambled away her entire fortune. Art and Anita first met in 1981 after her son Alan survived a plane crash. He was at the pique of his football career...


16. The Reporter

Warning, this episode may be disturbing for some listeners. It describes a shooting that resulted in the death of two people. While this story is not technically about a mass shooting, it has every characteristic of one. I began working on this story prior to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. My first reaction was to pull the episode. Then, I thought I should postpone the release. But, you know what? There’s never an appropriate time to talk about mass shootings....


14. The Taker

Karl comes from a long line of con men. His grandpappy worked with Al Capone and his father started a phony dating service. It's only natural for Karl to slip into the family trade. In today's episode, Karl tells us how he scammed companies out of thousands. And I also talk to Jerri Williams, the FBI agent who busted him. ---- Special thanks to Jerri Williams for contributing her episode titled, "Karl LNU" to Pretend...


14: The boy and the girl

Candis Cox and her husband Adam live in Raleigh, North Carolina. This is their love story. How did I find them? I’m glad you asked. I told my friend Wendy I was looking for a couple profile. She said, “Hang tight. I have the perfect couple for you.” 15 minutes later, Wendy calls back and tells me to call Candis Cox. It was the most awkward conversation. I called her and said, “Hello, my friend Wendy said you and your husband are madly in love. Do tell.” She was like, “Okay?” Their...


13. Snake Oil Salesman Part 2

Last time on Pretend Radio, I spoke with a group of women who drink a bleach-type chemical that they claim cures everything from cancer to depression. I soon found out that parents are forcefully giving bleach enemas to kids with autism. As a result, children are shedding their intestinal tract lining. In this episode, I interview Kerri Rivera, the woman leading this movement, and find out why she thinks this chlorine dioxide treatment is the cure for autism. —- This Week’s...


12. The Snake Oil Salesman Part 1

I stumbled upon a group of people who self-medicate with chlorine dioxide, a bleach-like substance. They claim it cures everything from headaches, lyme disease, malaria, HIV, hepatitis, and cancer. When I first discovered this trend, I thought surely this must be a small group of people. Seriously, who would take this stuff? But then I realized this is actually a huge movement among the alternative medicine community. I was outraged. How can people believe that drinking a cleaning product...


Pretend Radio Season Two Preview

Pretend Radio is back with brand new stories of people pretending to be someone else. This season I uncover a community of parents who are forcing their kids to drink a bleach-like chemical to cure them of autism. I also talk to a scam artist and the FBI agent who busted him. And I talk to a millionaire who’s life was destroyed by a con man but then ended up becoming a con artist herself. Plus, I share a story I don’t usually talk about… it’s my personal encounter with a...


10. The Pretender Part 2

The Pretender - Marc Ruskin FBI undercover agent Remember the name Marc Ruskin: because if you run into him, chances are he will introduce himself as Alex Perez, H. Marc Renard, or Sal Morelli – just a few of his FBI undercover personas. Marc Ruskin started his career as an assistant DA in Brooklyn and left it all behind to join the FBI Academy. It didn’t take him long to become an FBI undercover agent. His first big undercover case landed him in Wall Street busting up trading scams. That...


9: The Pretender Part 1

Before Marc Ruskin was an undercover FBI agent, he was an assistant DA in Brooklyn. Why did he give up his career as a powerful attorney to join the FBI academy? Well, in order to prosecute criminals, you have to catch them first. It didn’t take long for Marc to become an undercover agent. For 27 years, he slipped into various different characters busting criminals ranging from drug dealers to Wall Street insiders. At one point, Marc was juggling three or four cases at a time – switching...


8: The Sculptor

Sharon McConnell-Dickerson is preserving the Mississippi Delta blues with her own two hands. She's doing it by creating molds of some of the most influential blues musicians of our time. The lifecasts include a mask of Bobby “Blue” Bland, Little Milton from Memphis, “Honeyboy” Edwards from Chicago, and Pinetop Perkins from Clarksdale, just to name a few – almost 60 musicians total.


7: The Realtor - Part 2

South Carolina serial killer Todd Kohlhepp confesses to the Superbike Motorsports mass murder. This is part 2 of "The Realtor." I suggest starting with part 1. It was a Thursday morning. Kohlhepp walked into the Superbike motorsports store and started scoping out the place. He’s not shopping for motorcycle. He’s looking for his next victims. Kohlhepp: "I got there. Not everybody was there. I went in sat on a few bikes, did my usual. Basically buying for time. And doing my best to make sure...


6: The Realtor Part 1

This week’s story is about self-professed serial killer Todd Kohlhepp. What’s terrifying about Todd Kohlhepp? He’s not the type of serial killer you see in the movies. He doesn’t collect body parts in his fridge. He doesn’t taunt the media with riddles. He seems like a normal guy who owns a successful real estate company. Listen as his last surviving victim describes how he killed her boyfriend and locked her up in a shipping container for weeks. And that's just the beginning. SUBSCRIBE...


4: Birth Of A Con Man Part 1

Imagine, you’re driving on the road when suddenly a beat-down car full of passengers pulls into the lane right in front of you. Then, suddenly, the driver slams on the brakes. You look up at your rear view mirror, but it’s too late, you’re in a three-way accident. But no one should be hurt. It was a minor fender bender, right? Wrong. All eight passengers stumble out of both cars holding their necks and rolling around on the ground. The police officer shows up and incredulously writes up an...


The Prophet - Part 3

In the Prophet part 3, we’ll look at the Word of Faith Fellowship from a completely different lens. We’ll hear from current sect members and get their version of the story. Plus, you'll hear the latest on trial against five ministers accused of beating and kidnapping Michael Fenner. If you enjoy the show, consider donating a dollar: Follow us on: Twitter: @pretend_radio Facebook:...


2: The Prophet Part 2

John Cooper remembers one of the Word of Faith Fellowship ministers commanding him to beat his wife. He also describes his family’s attempt to what he describes as a cult. Then it finally happened. John escaped. We’ll listen to secret recordings of pastor Jane Whaley trying to lure him back. Subscribe now: Apple Podcasts: Google Play: Stitcher: Also, make sure to sign up for our newsletter at...


1: The Prophet Part 1

The Prophet part 1 explores The Word of Faith Fellowship. You will hear about the accused cult leader, Pastor Jane Whaley, who many inside the sect believe is a prophet with direct communication with God. John Cooper describes the day 20 to 30 sect members surrounded and attacked him. He also shares secret recordings of Pastor Jane Whaley commanding someone to throw someone down to the ground. Plus, you’ll hear “blasting prayers” — ear-piercing crying sessions meant to cast out demons.


Pretend Radio - Season 1 Preview

What is Pretend Radio? It’s a documentary-style podcast about people pretending to be someone else. Each episode features con artists, fakes, phonies and their victims. Season one explores The Word of Faith Fellowship and the accused cult leader, Pastor Jane Whaley, who many inside the sect believe is a prophet with direct communication to God. And witness the birth of a con man. Learn how one man went from being a small-time street thug to running a multi-million dollar medical scam. But...


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