Billions of dollars, gone. New identities and folks on the lam. Claims that sound too good to be true – and turn out to be just that. You know what I’m talking about: financial crime, in all its scammy and sneaky shapes and sizes.
Often overlooked for the more bombastic and bloody crimes, financial crimes are a fascinating niche of the “true crime” podcast sector. But for those who find financial crimes interesting, there’s a never-ending supply of cases to learn about and from. Conning, scamming, and stealing dates back to the invention of currency (so literally the dawn of civilization); these top financial crime podcasts will teach you all about the stories and topics that help shape the financial industry today.
Read on to find your next binge-worthy financial crime podcast.
The Best Financial Crime Podcasts
Financial crimes are a broad category, and some podcasts attempt to cover it all. These podcasts tell a myriad of stories through each show catalog and through expert interviews on some shows.
1. American Greed
Love show replay podcasts and financial crimes? American Greed is a must-listen. This replay of the popular CNBC TV show lets you take an audio journey through some of the wildest financial acts and crimes in the U.S. Each week covers this and more – sometimes including scams and even violent crimes – and the show is narrated by Stacy Keach.
2. Bribe, Swindle or Steal
Produced by TRACE International (which helps companies create anti-bribery systems), Bribe, Swindle or Steal is a show focused on the nitty-gritty of financial crime and compliance. Each week, host and TRACE president Alexandra Wrage interviews experts in the financial industry on topics ranging from bribery, fraud, and money laundering to insider trading and sanctions
3. Captivated Audience
Curious how the pandemic has affected compliance professionals in their attempts to stop financial crime? That’s the premise of Captivated Audience, which explores topics ranging from governance and transaction monitoring to cyber security and accountability. Best of all, the show is presented in an accessible way that makes sense for those outside the compliance industry.
4. Financial Crime Matters
A podcast from ACAMS (Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists), Financial Crime Matters uses interviews to get into the nitty-gritty of financial crimes and the widespread impact each can have. Focusing primarily on recent topics pulled from the news, host Kieran Beer and guests make financial crime feel relevant and timely in our fast-paced modern lives.
5. FinCrime Spotlight
Produced by FINTRAIL, which helps companies monitor for and fight financial crimes, FinCrime Spotlight interviews FinTech and AML (that’s Anti-Money Laundering, for us non-financial folks) professionals. The show only publishes intermittently, but offers fascinating conversations for your aural enjoyment.
6. Fraud Fighter
If you enjoy other types of true crime podcasts that interview experts to let them tell their tales – Best Case, Worst Case; Small Town Dicks; Wicked Words; etc. – you’ll love Fraud Fighter. Hosted by a former white-collar criminal investigator, Fraud Fighter sits down each week to talk about financial crimes and other fraud, based on first-hand experience.
7. Gangster Capitalism
I love a good multi-serial show, and Gangster Capital is the best financial crime podcast of that kind. Each season focuses on a different abuse of the system, especially when it comes to financials. Season 1 covers the College Admissions scandal, season 2 focuses on the NRA, and season 3 explores Jerry Fallwell Jr. and Liberty University.
8. Let’s Talk FinCrime
Another interview-based financial crime podcast, Let’s Talk FinCrime is produced by NICE Actimize, a company that helps fight financial crime. The show is released in seasons but there’s no specific focus to each one; instead, episodes cover a wide range of topics in the financial and financial crimes space.
9. Misfortune: A Financial Crimes Podcast
Misfortune is produced in the style of many ultra-popular non-financial true crime podcasts (casefile with commentary). Cohosts Adam Tod Brown and Danger Van Gorder cover the financial side of white collar crimes, covering cases ranging from hot lottos to crowdfunding scams. Unfortunately, this show only ran a limited number of episodes and doesn’t seem to be active anymore.
10. Old Dirty Benches
Not to be confused with the other ODB, Old Dirty Benches is a multi-host podcast that explores financial crimes from the headlines and history. The show is generally lighthearted in its commentary, which helps bring levity to the loss of billions. (Weirdly they also do movie reviews, but it’s pretty obvious from episode titles are easy to skip.)
11. Suspicious Transaction Report
Hosted by the Centre for Financial Crime and Security Studies at RUSI, Suspicious Transaction Report combines two types of financial crime podcasts into one. The first part covers recent news in the financial and fraud sectors; the second dives into new research and examples of financial crimes to help educate the listener.
12. The Dark Money Files
Specifically focused on Dark Money – currency that enters the system through money laundering, corruption, bribery, and tax evasion – The Dark Money Files helps make a niche part of the topic of financial crime more interesting and intelligible. Hopefully it’s not so useful that it inspires you to try these tactics!
The Best Cryptocurrency Crime Podcasts
If you’re big on the cryptocurrency industry, it’s important to remember that crime does occur despite the blockchain. Here are the three best cryptocurrency crime podcasts.
13. A Death in Cryptoland
Not to be confused with the podcast Exit Scam that was released at the same time and covered the same story – the mysterious disappearance of millions and death of crypto-CEO Gerald Cotten, A Death in Cryptoland examines the story and possible scam that resulted in thousands of Canadians losing it all.
14. Exit Scam
As mentioned, Exit Scam also follows the story of Gerald Cotten and the hypothesis that his mysterious death – only after, as was later discovered, his cryptocurrency company’s accounts were emptied – is an “exit scam,” that is running off with the crypto after going public through an ICO. By the end, it will be up to you to decide but you’ll have a lot to consider.
15. The Missing Crypto Queen
Cotten isn’t the only crypto-con – before him, Dr Ruja Ignatova pulled a very similar move. She convinced millions of people to part with millions of dollars, and then disappeared. As told in The Missing Crypto Queen, this podcast tells a story that serves as an important cautionary tale for those getting swept up in any ‘revolution’ – financial or otherwise.
The Best Con Podcasts
Confidence men and women are fascinating – as long as you’re not on the side that gets conned. Luckily, these top con podcasts allow you to view them from a safe space.
16. Fake Heiress
Who doesn’t love a good con – and story of the con (wo)man’s fall from grace? That’s what you get in Fake Heiress, which follows the wild life of Anna Delvey – also known as Anna Sorkin. As of 2018, Sorkin faced 4-12 years in prison for her scams, though the marks she left behind on the New York City social scene won’t be forgotten for long after that – as detailed in this podcast.
17. Who the Hell is Hamish?
He was born Hamish Watson – but who is he, really? In Who the Hell is Hamish? you’ll learn the story of this Australian-born con man who duped victims in the U.S., Canada, Britain, Hong Kong, and Australia out of over $7 million dollars. Today he’s serving a 16-year sentence; this podcast tells the story of why he earned that punishment.
The Best Business Scam Podcasts
Business scams are fascinating – and they seem to be happening more often. On this part of my list of the best financial crime podcasts, you’ll hear stories you recognize, including Bernie Madoff, MLMs, Theranos, and WeWork.
18. Ponzi Scream
Who doesn’t love comedy and cons in the same conversation? Ponzi Scream is a comedic, light-hearted podcast all about financial crimes, ranging from MLMs and pyramid schemes to other, lesser-known, ways of scamming the system. Co-hosts David Bradley Isenberg, Gabe Pacheco, and Danny Felts add commentary to examinations of each case.
19. Ponzi Supernova
Interested in the Ponzi scheme that thrust this con into the public consciousness? Ponzi Supernova is an archived podcast (2017) that covers the story of Bernie Madoff, and how he was able to pull off the largest con of its kind in history. Madoff was sentenced to 150 years for his crimes.
20. Scam Kings
If scams fascinate you, Scam Kings should be on your queue. This podcast focuses on a new scam each week, enlightening the audience to some of the most well-known financial scams and crimes – and some you’ve probably never heard of. Best of all, these podcasts are bite-sized and usually clock in under 20 minutes.
While Swindled doesn’t exclusively focus on financial scams, it’s a great podcast for those who love a good story – as long as they’re not the victim. In this podcast, you’ll have an immersive audio experience covering true crimes ranging from corruption and fraud to Ponzi schemes and environmental disasters.
22. The Dream
The Dream is a multi-serial podcast, so each season covers a different topic – but Season 1 is definitely worthy of a spot on the best financial crime podcasts list. It covers MLMs (multi-level marketing companies) which toe the line between legitimate business and illegal cons. (If you like what you hear, Season 2 covers the Wellness industry, which is fascinating and toes the line too.)
23. The Drop Out
Elizabeth Holmes hoped to be a household name for revolutionizing the medical industry; instead, we all know her for the wild business fraud she allegedly pulled at her company Theranos. Early episodes of The Drop Out detail the claims that Holmes is currently disputing in trial in California (which is covered in recent episode).
24. WeCrashed: The Rise and Fall of WeWork
Theranos was big – but WeWork was bigger. After failing to IPO in 2019, WeWork has shrunk from being a venture capital “tech” darling to a small player in a competitive real estate industry. WeCrashed, from Wondery, covers the rise and fall of WeWork and how its guru-esque CEO walked away with millions while employees and shareholders received nothing.
White Collar Podcasts Including Financial Crimes
Finally, it’s worth subscribing to these white collar podcasts; though they don’t exclusively cover financial crimes, many do on occasion and include loads of other interesting true crime stories too.
25. Red Collar
A podcast from the popular network audiochuck, Red Collar looks at all things white collar – including those things which stain it red. Not exclusively focused on financial crimes, this podcast focuses on white collar criminals who kill – sometimes in the name of financial gain.
26. True White Collar Crime
It’s a simple premise: “a podcast about White Collar Crime and the people behind it,” but this short-run podcast does it well. Over six episodes (ending in April 2021), True White Collar Crime covers some of the biggest crimes in the sector – including business and financial crimes like a payday loan scandal, Theranos, and WeWork.
27. White Collar Crime and Fraud
Explore cases of white collar crime – including fraud and financial crimes – in this podcast hosted by Texas attorney Gene P. Tausk. On each episode of White Collar Crime and Fraud, Tausk digs into the details of the crime, the criminal(s), the victim(s), and the legal, judicial, and government response.
28. White Collar Week
Originally started as a limited-run show in summer 2020, White Collar Week has continued over the past year+ to cover even more financial and white collar crimes. This show is aimed at those working in the white collar justice community, though anyone interested in financial crimes will find it fascinating.
29. White Collars, Red Hands
Unsurprisingly, some of the biggest financial and white collar crimes have been committed by the ultra-wealthy; White Collars, Red Hands covers those stories. Comedians Nina Kern and Kishan Batcheldor bring levity to the topics covered each week, which helps given how infuriating some of these stories of privilege and abuse can be.
Do you know of any other great financial crime podcasts? Share with the community in the comments!