FROM THE MAKERS OF ‘SMOKING GUN’ & ‘THE MISSING’ & ‘BODY OF PROOF’
AVAILABLE FROM TOMORROW, 19 OCTOBER
What’s The Story Sounds presents a brand new podcast ‘Con Juan’. In this investigative seven-part series, hosted by Darrell Brown alongside ex Met Detective Christian Plowman, listeners are immersed in the thrilling, audacious and outright unbelievable true story of the infamous Colombian conman, Juan Carlos Guzman-Betancourt aka ‘Con Juan’ – as the duo attempt to track him down.
Conman, escape artist, expert linguist, identity thief – and one of the world’s most wanted criminals, Juan Carlos Guzman-Betancourt is THE expert in his field. With a 20+ year career as one of the world’s most accomplished international conmen, Juan’s spoils are in the multi-millions. He has robbed hundreds of thousands from the likes of Celine Dion and royalty; he escaped from Standford Hill jail and has broken across borders using one of his many hidden passports across the globe.
Hosts Darrell and Christian tell the unfolding tale of ‘Con Juan’s life, starting right from the beginning in 1993, where orphan Juan Carlos Guzman-Betancourt fell out of the plane at Miami Airport. They trail Juan Carlos across the globe until they eventually track him down and arrange a meeting at a casino in an undisclosed location. Will he turn up? Binge listen to the full series now to find out.
The series will be available to stream on all platforms, with two episodes being released weekly from Wednesday 19 October. Across the seven episodes, listeners will explore –
EPISODE 1: We begin in the wheel-well of an aeroplane. In 1993 to tell the story of how a 13 year old orphan fell out of the plane and onto the tarmac at Miami Airport. He’s barely alive, having stowed away and held on for four hours on the flight from Colombia. We hear from an airport worker who found him. And a police officer, whose family gave the boy a home while immigration worked out what to do with him. We then reveal how the boy wasn’t 13. The name he gave was false. And he wasn’t an orphan. He was actually a 17 year old, who rather than settling into his new country, started to commit thefts, and was deported back to Colombia. The episode ends with Juan Carlos Guzman-Betancourt making a return trip to the US – this time to New York – smuggling his way past security via the air conditioning tunnels above the terminal. He’s determined to make a hole in the US. But his journey is only just beginning.
EPISODE 2: We fast forward a few years to 2002. Juan Carlos Guzman-Betancourt has developed some elite skills – as a thief. He robs hotel guests of their belongings after blagging his way into their rooms, and he specialises in the finest hotels and the most expensive suites. But, after making his way around Europe – he goes to Las Vegas – to rob a British businessman of £200k, and then steal even more from a penthouse suite belonging to Celine Dion! We hear from one of Juan Carlos Guzman-Betancourt’s victims, the receptionist who was tricked into giving Juan a key, and the cops who investigated, as Juan Carlos turned their lives upside down.
EPISODE 3: The following year, we’re in London being shown around by ex-British cop Christian Plowman. At the time he was part of the hotel crimes division of the Met – and Juan was his number one target. We tell the story of the London crimes, a pursuit to Paris, and eventually a stroke of luck, as Christian spots Juan in a London supermarket, and arrests him on the spot. Juan has been making a mockery of the police all over the world. Now the game is up. He’s behind bars. Or, so everyone thinks…
EPISODE 4: Within a few weeks of being jailed – Juan Carlos escapes from prison. He manages to blag his way out of a jail in Kent, steals a passport belonging to an Italian man, and makes off to Ireland. We follow his journey to Dublin, more crimes, and another arrest, and we start to realise that there’s little which will deter Juan from his choice of career. But back on the outside, Juan Carlos is coming to terms with the fact he’s alone. He spends an emotional New Year’s Eve, in a New York hotel, contemplating the fact that he has untold riches, and nobody to share them with.
EPISODE 5: Back on my mission to plot Juans life – host Darrell Brown, follows his path to Canada, and then to a failed attempt to walk across the border back into Vermont. We hear from the border officers who are suspicious, question Juan, and arrest him and we follow the story to the courthouse, where Juan Carlos makes his first explanation of his crimes. He blames his upbringing in Colombia as a poor kid with no prospects, who just wanted a better life. But is that the truth? The whole truth?
EPISODE 6: Juan’s life in Colombia is complicated. We speak to his friend, and a brother, who say that Juan was a typical shy kid. He was poor, but they all were. We learn that Juan’s sexuality was a barrier he felt stopped him being accepted and his desire for wealth, and fantasy, led him to attempt the audacious. First – he hides in a consignment of Disney on Ice which is passing through the town – arriving in Venezuela as a runaway. It’s only a few years later that he flees home for good, boarding that plane and making off to Miami.
EPISODE 7: So where is Juan? We’ve been through his past to try to find clues. Now we’re on his tail. We unearth hidden social media accounts, and track down friends who spent time with him recently. Then we get a tip off that Juan is in prison in Austria. Letters are exchanged – Juan says he will speak to us…at some point. Then after months of waiting, we receive a message – Juan wants to meet, on an island, in a few days time. Will he be there? Will he turn up? And what will he say? The episode ends with a tense reveal…Juan comes into view, we shake hands – we’ve found him!
‘Con Juan’ was created by “What’s The Story? Sounds”. Whether it’s an ‘always on’ or a long-form narrative boxset, What’s The Story? Sounds produce compelling, factual and high-production value content. With a mission to always get under the skin of a story. Series in their portfolio include: ‘Smoking Gun’, ‘Crosshairs’, ‘Body of Proof’ which reached #1 in the Audible-UK bestseller chart and #2 in the US; Spotify original, ‘Emily Atack: Lie Detector’ which debuted at #3 in the charts; the exclusive to BBC Sounds show, ‘The Footballers Football Podcast’ and ‘The Missing’, an award-nominated series that has reached over 2.3 million listeners to date.
For more information on the ‘Con Juan’ podcast or other series from What’s The Story? Sounds, head to whatsthestorysounds.com or follow on Instagram / Twitter.