In 1978, con artists Irving Rosenfeld and Sydney Prosser have started a relationship and are working together. Sydney has improved Rosenfeld's scams, posing as English aristocrat "Lady Edith Greensly. " Irving loves Sydney but is hesitant to leave his unstable wife Rosalyn, fearing he will lose contact with his adoptive son Danny. Rosalyn has also threatened to report Irving to the police if he leaves her. FBI agent Richie DiMaso catches Irving and Sydney in a loan scam, but offers to release them if Irving can line up four additional arrests. Richie believes Sydney is English but has proof that her claim of aristocracy is fraudulent. Sydney tells Irving she will manipulate Richie, distancing herself from Irving.