Meet Javier Leiva

Javier Leiva

Pretend & Criminal Conduct podcasts

An introduction: My first podcast, Pretend, is about real people pretending to be someone else. I interview con artists and their victims. My new podcast, Criminal Conduct, is an 11-part investigation into the death of a Florida woman and the sleuth who was murdered while investigating her case.

Inspiration: I learned to tell stories while working as a photojournalist in broadcast news. Even though I no longer work in news, I still have the desire to tell people’s stories and to make a difference. Both podcasts allow me to scratch the journalist itch within me.

Professional highlight: I’ve been written about in the New York Times and the BBC World News. I could have never imagined that my podcast would be noticed worldwide. I’ve also won four Midsouth Regional Emmys for my previous work in broadcast television.

Biggest risk: I was invited to visit and interview a cult leader for my podcast Pretend. It was terrifying, but some of the most popular work I’ve ever produced.

Greatest challenge: My biggest challenge is getting people to agree to talk with me — especially con artists. People who are deceptive are especially hard to convince. However, once I get them talking, I treat them with respect and they appreciate that. Building trust allows them to discuss things about their lives they would normally keep secret.

Fun fact: I do a killer Kermit the Frog impersonation


  • Sandy Karlan says:

    So impressive – I look forward to your work in the future!

  • Mayra Salazar says:

    I just discovered your pretend podcast and I am hooooooked!! Thanks for making my drive to work so much better! You do great work. Can’t wait to check out your other podcast!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *