The Lost Heir is a classic European long con in which the mark is convinced a pay off comes from an investment in a secret lost heir to a royal family. The con has been used twice, first in The Two-Horse Job, and later in The Lost Heir Job.Arguably the most famous example of the con is that of "Anna Anderson", a Polish factory worker found in a German mental institution in 1921 who, even in the face of DNA evidence proving she was a fraud, claimed to be the allegedly lost Grand Duchess Anastasia, daughter of Tsar Nicholas II. She was not fully exposed until 2008, when the body of the real Anastasia was found alongside those of her family, in Ekaterinburg, Russia. Between 1921 and her death in 1984, Anderson, whose real name was Franziska Schanzkowska, gained considerable media attention, the trust of some minor Russian courtiers, and a group of loyal followers who supported her claims. Until Anastasia's body was found, the myth that Anastasia had survived her family's execution and escaped Russia remained the foundation for a number similar cons.
The Two Horse JobEdit
The first time the team runs the Lost Heir, they fabricate a horse, descended from what they claim is a lost Chinese equine bloodline supposedly destroyed by the Communists, and potentially worth millions. The team's mark is Alan Foss, a wealthy and obnoxious New York hedge-fund manager. Foss, attempting to recover his investment, is responsible for burning the client's stables and the death all the horses in his care but one in order to obtain a sizable insurance payoff. Their mission is to recover the horse, Baltimore, from Foss so their client, Willie Martin, can care for it. To pull off the con, the team must first set up a rigged poker game (loosely adapted from the game in "The Sting") and lure Foss into joining it. Sophie plays Katherine Beth Lovely, known as Kitty, a blood stock agent. Sophie ropes Foss into joining the game, and he is manipulated into betting ownership of Baltimore by Nate, playing Bob Gibson, a cocky stable owner who goads Foss into making bigger and bigger bets. With the help of Eliot as his trainer, Brad Mackey, Nate wins the final hand, and the team recovers Baltimore.
Not satisfied with simply winning the horse, and with his rival, Sterling, watching the team's moves for IYS, Nate decides he wants to expose Foss' insurance fraud. The con the team runs is the Lost Heir. Mackey invites Foss to see a horse he claims is faster than the last decade's Kentucky Derby winners, and Foss is intrigued. As they watch the horse, which is actually a champion named Kentucky Thunder, Mackey tells Foss a tale of horses destroyed at the Beijing Jockey Club, with one previously unknown survivor, Fei Kuai, the horse Foss is supposedly watching run. With the help of Hardison's hacking skills, Mackey reads Fei Kuai's bloodlines from its microchip implant, leading Foss to believe Fei Kuai is legitimate -- and a potential goldmine.Kitty appears with a Chinese couple she claims are the owners, who must sell the horse before it's discovered. Mackey tells Foss they are ready to sell the Fei Kuai to a Bob Gibson for $11,000,000. Foss offers them $12,000,000, which they accept with the provision he must transfer the money within 24 hours. Later, Kitty meets Foss at the stable where Fei Kuai is kept. They verify the horse is legitimate once again, and Foss transfers the money, completing the purchase. Later, Foss takes his New York investments group, along with Sterling, who represents his insurance company, to see Fei Kuai. Sterling insists the horse is Kentucky Thunder, but is caught by surprise, along with Foss, when they discover the horse is Baltimore, a $200,000 horse he has tried to insure for $12,000,000. With Foss guilty of insurance fraud, ownership of the horse reverts to Nate, who returns him to Willie, along with a sizable amount of money.
The Lost Heir JobEdit
The Lost Heir con is used again in The Lost Heir Job, when the team produces a supposed lost heir to a wealthy man's fortune in order to prevent his unscrupulous lawyer from gaining control of it. This time, the con takes an unexpected twist when a genuine lost heir appears.
The team represents Ruth Walton, the director a non-profit organization that moves foster children into adoptive homes. Bennett Kimball, a wealthy businessman, has supported the organization generously over the years. Ruth learns he had recently changed his will, leaving her charity his estate. Since then, Ruth has been kept away from him by his attorney, Peter Blanchard, and has never seen the will. Ruth is finally able to sneak into the hospital visit Kimball, now on his death bed. She tries to tell Kimball that Blanchard wants his money, but a confused Kimball only calls her Gigi. Ruth is quickly removed by Blanchard, who orders she be kept away from Kimball. After Kimball dies, Ruth and her by-the-book attorney, Tara Carlisle, seek the help of the team. With the location of Kimball's new will unknown, Blanchard stands to assume control of Kimball's estate, and is determined nothing will stand in his way of the money. Nate reluctantly agrees to work with Carlisle to discredit Blanchard and see to it Kimball's wishes are respected, will or no will.The team has three days before Blanchard presents another will, with him as beneficiary, in probate court. Nate appears at the probate court as Jimmy Papadakalis, a slimy Las Vegas attorney. The team has discovered that Blanchard paid $50,000 to have a George Gilbert murdered by the mob, but is unable to discover who Gilbert was. Papadakalis meets with Blanchard, hoping to bluff Blanchard into revealing who Gilbert was. As he does, Hardison discovers the payment was actually a payoff to a Las Vegas stripper named Georgia Gilbert. On the fly, Papadakalis tells Blanchard that Georgia Gilbert was pregnant, and had a daughter who wants a pay-out from Kimball's will. Papadakalis presents Parker as Lizzy Cantrell (Gilbert), Kimball's lost daughter. Blanchard is unimpressed, and calls Nate's bluff.
Unexpectedly, the con becomes a search for Kimball's genuine lost heir. Hardison reviews his research with the team, and they learn Georgia Gilbert was pregnant, but gave the baby, a daughter, up for adoption. Armed with records that prove Kimball had a daughter, along with Lizzy's faked adoption records, but knowing a DNA test will prove the lost heir is not Lizzy, it's up to Tara to persuade Blanchard that he should not request a DNA test. Blanchard, unwilling to gamble on the test being negative, agrees with Tara, and instead, arranges a meet with Papadakalis on the day of the hearing to settle -- and for Lizzy to have an accident. Meanwhile, Tara waits at the courthouse for Papadakalis to arrive in court with the settlement check. Eliot arrives at the meeting in time to foil Blanchard's plan, and they all rush to the courthouse, but Blanchard has a trick of his own - framing Lizzy for assault with a deadly weapon.
At the hearing, Tara questions Ruth about Kimball's state of mind. As Blanchard cross-examines her, Papadakalis arrives. The judge asks him to make his case for the lost heir. Rather than producing Lizzy, he approaches Ruth and asks her to identify the color of his (blue) tie. She is unable to do so because she, like Bennett Kimball and Georgia Gilbert, is color-blind. Papadakalis refers to the medical records Blanchard brought, which prove the connection. Stunned, Ruth realizes she is Bennett Kimball's lost heir, the daughter of Georgia, or as he called her "Gigi" Gilbert. Tara moves to have the court compel a DNA test, which will establish she is Kimball's daughter. The judge orders the test, announcing she anticipates awarding the estate to Ruth.