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IRE Radio Podcast | A Psychic Scam

More than 1.4 million people in the U.S. alone have fallen victim to a mail scam centered around a psychic named Maria Duval. Officials around the world have tried to shutter the multimillion-dollar scheme with little success. It was unclear if the scam’s namesake was even a real person. So, CNN investigative reporters Blake Ellis and Melanie Hicken decided to follow the fraud back to its source and uncover its leaders. Their reporting took them through a maze of shell companies, to a Brazilian surfing school and even the South of France.

You can find the podcast on Soundcloud, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher and Google Play. If you have a story you think we should feature on the show, drop us a note at We’d love to hear from you.



Looking for links to the stories and resources we discussed on this week's podcast? We've collected them for you.



The Records (Blue Dot Sessions) / CC BY-NC 4.0

Our Digital Compass (Blue Dot Sessions) / CC BY-NC 4.0

Slow Line Stomp (Blue Dot Sessions) / CC BY-NC 4.0

Sunday Lights (Blue Dot Sessions) / CC BY-NC 4.0

Parisol (Blue Dot Sessions) / CC BY-NC 4.0

Stately Shadows (Blue Dot Sessions) / CC BY-NC 4.0

The Confrontation (Podington Bear) / CC BY-NC 3.0



Julie Christie reported this episode. IRE Editorial Director Sarah Hutchins edits the podcast. Blake Nelson draws our episode art. We are recorded in the studios of KBIA at the University of Missouri.

109 Lee Hills Hall, Missouri School of Journalism   |   221 S. Eighth St., Columbia, MO 65201   |   573-882-2042   |   |   Privacy Policy
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