Persona: The French Deception

Audio Sample

Publisher:
Pineapple Street Studios, Wondery

Persona: The French Deception

4.6/5

Critic Rating

What does it feel like to pick up the phone and scam someone out of $50 million? This is the story of Gilbert Chikli, one of the greatest con artists of all time. Host and award-winning journalist Evan Ratliff investigates how Chikli duped some of the world’s most powerful people into handing over their fortunes. He explores how Chikli evaded the law for years and became a Robin Hood-like hero. More than just a tale of criminal genius, this is a show about the moment we’re living in right now — the golden age of scammers — and the power of seductio...


Critic Reviews

Score: 3

James Marriot • The Times UK Jul 1, 2022

"After following the misdemeanours of the eccentric Chikli, the podcast broadens out to follow his imitators. The show is classic Wondery: efficiently told, somewhat tabloidy in sensibility, irrefutably entertaining. If you like that sort of thing you’ll like this."

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Score: 5

Nicholas Quah • Vulture Jun 22, 2022

"The beats of that story feel so familiar, almost archetypical...there’s a straightforwardness with which Persona pulls together the story of Gilbert Chikli that feels distinctly old-school. Persona is a scam story, but one told with a clinical eye."

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Score: 5

Jensen Davis • Air Mail Jun 18, 2022

"Unlike most podcasts covering fraudsters, Ratliff’s isn’t self-serious. Plus, the soundtrack includes Françoise Hardy."

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Score: 4.9

Fiona Sturges • Financial Times Jun 12, 2022

"It’s a hell of a story...The series is smartly scripted and sleekly produced, functioning both as a character study and a cautionary tale about the persuasion tactics of globe-trotting con artists. Ratliff goes deep into the methodology, showing how artfully constructed lies can create a skewed reality...There’s grimy enjoyment to be had from Persona: The French Deception, though you might feel you need a shower after listening. …"

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Score: 5

Miranda Sawyer • The Guardian Jun 11, 2022

"Longform’s Evan Ratliff, who presents The French Deception, brings to it a career-long understanding of people...He’s a fluent storyteller, with an American podcaster’s ability to lead the listener by the hand through a complicated plot and make it seem like a history of our times...they’re all journalistically rigorous and excellently paced, with cute musical riffs."

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