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Judge approves extradition for Bangor native to face fraud charges in UK

The then Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland George Hamilton speaks to the media at their headquarters in Belfast, Northern Ireland in August 2015.
Peter Morrison/AP
/
AP
The then Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland George Hamilton speaks to the media at their headquarters in Belfast, Northern Ireland in August 2015.

A federal judge approved the extradition on Thursday of a Bangor woman accused of fraud by authorities in the United Kingdom.

Marianne Smyth stands accused of defrauding five people in Northern Ireland of £130,000 from 2008 to 2010. Having met the individuals while working as a mortgage advisor in Belfast, Smyth told her victims she was investing the money in high interest return accounts and a real estate property. Smyth then moved back to the United States. She continued residing there when the Magistrates' Courts of Northern Ireland issued an arrest warrant for her in February 2021.

John Breyault is the Vice President of Fraud Policy at the National Consumers League. He said it’s rare in fraud cases for the perpetrator to meet their victim in person.

"The people I think we really need to focus on is not the criminals, but the victims," said Breyault. "[It's important] to make sure that they are getting the support they need to recover. These are often life savings that people are losing to scammers, and far too often there’s no way to get that money back once it’s gone."

After returning to the United States, Smyth defrauded a television producer out of $60,000. A Los Angeles court sentenced Smyth to a three-year prison sentence in 2019. She was released during the pandemic and lived in Bingham prior to her arrest in February.

"What fraudsters are after at the end of the day is money," warns Breyault. "[If] somebody’s coming to you and asking you for money, no matter how convincing that story sounds, be wary of it — particularly if it’s attached to some kind of story where 'you pay me now, and I’ll pay you more later.' That is a classic sign of advance fee fraud, and so that should certainly be a red flag."

Judge John Nivison for the U.S. District Court of Maine released his opinion on Thursday. Smyth remains in the custody of the U.S. Marshalls pending approval for extradition by Secretary of State, Antony J. Blinken.

Smyth is the focus of the true crime podcast, “Queen of the Con: The Irish Heiress.”

Nick Song is Maine Public's inaugural Emerging Voices Fellowship Reporter.


Originally from Southern California, Nick got his start in radio when he served as the programming director for his high school's radio station. He graduated with a degree in Journalism and History from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University -- where he was Co-News Director for WNUR 89.3 FM, the campus station.