Love Fraud is a true crime thriller that takes place in real time. It follows confused ex-wives, fiancés, and girlfriends of Richard Scott Smith on a gripping man-hunt for the man who cheated on them and dozens of women for $ 1 million over the past 20 years
Ellen, Tracy, Sabrina, Karla, Jean, these women have one thing in common – they were all betrayed by Richard Scott Smith.
Over the past 20 years, the online serial dating scammer has cheated on over $ 1 million from a group of women he quickly enlisted into marriage, only to rid them of their meager savings and disappear days later.
There are others. Lisa, Angela, Jennifer, Holly, Michele, Rebecca, Crystal, and Sandi; All were once married or engaged (sometimes at the same time) to the same man who used different aliases to evade the law.
With ten different Social Security numbers, 43 phone numbers, and 58 registered addresses, Smith broke through the Midwest, leaving a trail of heartache, debt, and at least one case of assault.
His exploits were so productive that a despised ex started a warning blog in 2014 that exposed his lies and warned other women of his plan. At the top of the website it says, "Did this man make you a victim?" It became a place for his betrayed wives to bond.
Now his discarded spouses have teamed up to seek justice and vengeance in a new four-part crime thriller titled "Love Fraud" that airs on Showtime tonight at 9 p.m. EST. With covert surveillance missions that dissolve in real time, cameras follow the group of the former & # 39; Mrs. Smiths looking for the man who stole everything.
“The best way to get over a man is to get revenge. I'm sorry, ”said Sabrina, who was drained from 95,000. “Rick, you lying bastard, you fuck me. I am f *****. Buddy, i'm coming after you. & # 39;
Ellen, Sandi, Tracy, Sabrina (left to right) are some of Richard Scott Smith's exes who were betrayed out of their crucial savings in a whirlwind romance with Smith. He persecuted vulnerable women, convinced them to open joint bank accounts, and disappeared a few days after their wedding before moving on to the next victim. You've teamed up with a local Kansas City bounty hunter Carla Campbell (far right) and filmmakers Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing to seek out Smith for justice and vengeance. The documentaries are narrated in real time and the audience is involved in many stakes throughout America while parking
"We hit all the cylinders," said Ellen, who was hooked on Smith immediately after connecting online. During a brief advertisement, Smith convinced Ellen to buy a fully furnished house in Florida on her behalf. He also told her he was expecting a large medical malpractice payout of $ 7.8 million
Richard Scott Smith, 48, hunted middle-aged suburban single mothers using various aliases (Scott, Rick, Mickey). He charmed her with flattering, expensive gifts and "Talk of the Future" before leading her into financial ruin. His ability to do so depended on his success, "whatever anyone wants him to do," director Rachel Grady told USA Today. "He's a chameleon." Depending on the woman, Richard posed as a down-to-earth used car dealer, sometimes he was a successful lawyer, a professional water skier, the owner of a real estate company, a wealthy doctor, an experienced pianist, a black belt in karate, pilot, cook, financier and wine connoisseur. In reality he is a high school dropout with no college degree
Richard Scott Smith (aka Scott, aka Rick, aka Mickey) makes for an unlikely Lothario at first glance. Balding, with a stilted smile and nervous stuttering, he's not your typical playboy. However, his success as a Conman lay in his ability to pick the right victim. He's hunted down the vulnerable, those who have lost their luck, middle-aged and discouraged by love after a series of bad dates and frayed romances.
"Dating in your forties sucks," said Tracy, a single mom of two who works as a real estate agent in Kansas City, Missouri. “It seems like all you have to do is go online to meet someone, but it's hard. You know? You look at a picture of someone and you think, "Wow, he has nice eyes" or "He looks like he's really fun" and you get there and they don't have teeth!
Tracy believed she hit the jackpot when she met Richard Scott Smith online in 2016. He checked all the correct boxes: he worked in real estate, owned his own business, and was deeply religious. "So yeah, of course I was interested," she said.
Sabrina, 49, felt the same way. After a failed marriage, she said, “I was in love with him, he made me feel like number one, and I've never had a man do anything for me before. In all honesty, it was like a golden ticket for me. & # 39; Within a month of dating, Richard had Sabrina's name tattooed on his back.
His approach was the same for every victim. He charmed women through a rocket-fast romance with sweet conversations, expensive gifts and visions of a lavish future together. Using the false pretext of love and marriage, he convinced them to open joint checking accounts and credit cards – for which he would buy luxury cars and houses under his name. Then suddenly Smith drew a bait and switched; he would empty their bank accounts, waste their vital savings, and go away. The women had to bear the debts he had accumulated under their names.
So productive were Richard Scott Smith's exploits that a collective of despised exes created a public blog to warn other women about his web of lies. At the top of the website it says, "Did this man make you a victim?" and showed the above picture. It became a place for his betrayed wives to share stories and track the whereabouts of the elusive con man
Richard Scott Smith (left) from Lenexa, Kansas, left a trail of fraud, forgery, fraud, bigamy and at least one case of assault – he is pictured with one of his wives, Jean Hansen. She told the 2017 Kansas City star, “When I first met him, he was very charming, he was very loving, he was always polite – just a really, really nice guy. Very charismatic. & # 39; Months after their brief nine-month marriage, Jean said Smith had begun to change. She later learned that he had made a proposal to another woman a few days before their wedding in 2015
Jean Hansen (right) believes she is wife number 8 or 9. She tearfully tells the documentary how she was betrayed for over $ 700,000 when Smith convinced her to invest in one of his fraudulent businesses. She was so penniless that she had to borrow money to file for bankruptcy. Sabrina Dunlap, a 49-year-old divorced hairdresser, was courted by the client who gave her $ 50 bills. She said, “I was in love with him, he made me feel like number one, and I've never got anyone to do anything for me before. Honestly, it was like a golden ticket for me. & # 39; After a month of dating, Richard had Sabrina's name tattooed on his back. He disappeared shortly afterwards, leaving Sabrina in debt of $ 95,000
Likewise, after a short publicity, Smith suggested to Tracy, "In a minute we were together, the next minute he was over there, and the next minute his things were in." He bought her a Porsche (with a bad check) and promised to pay for her son's college.
Tracy gave him access to her money. They bought a house and talked about investing in a Florida beach retirement home. Richard claimed he was expecting a multi-million dollar payout from a medical malpractice suit. "Everything we did revolved around November 7th, because that's when his money should come in. He would tell me we're going to be millionaires in a few days."
His house of cards collapsed when Tracy's daughter Kayla became suspicious and decided to search his car. She discovered pill bottles and papers with different names. "My first thought is that he's a drug addict," she said. "But all the ideas that went through my head at that moment were nothing compared to the truth."
At this point he had already moved on to the next victim. "In a minute I was his world and he couldn't live without me. Within a few hours he disappeared and never spoke to me again."
"We talked for three hours the first night we talked," said Ellen. "We hit all cylinders." After a whirlwind romance, Richard took her to the Zales jewelry store to pick out a two-carat ring. He said he expected a big $ 12.7 million settlement, "but after the lawyers are paid," he would receive $ 7.8 million.
The couple closed a fully furnished house in Florida (paid for by Ellen) and turned their gaze to $ 1.3 million beachfront property in Belize. He bought two Sea-doos, six life jackets, and a 4-wheel thing because he said that's how they go there.
Thanks to the efforts of the revenge team and filmmakers Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing, Richard Scott Smith was arrested in 2017 on a pending warrant for identity theft and forgery. He was sentenced to ten months in prison and was released on parole in April 2019. As of today, the productive cheater can do whatever he wants and it seems like he's up to old tricks. Grady told the NY Post that a woman saw the trailer and stretched out, "She said her sister lives with him (and) he doesn't let her watch TV or talk to her relatives." She added, "I think the floodgates are about to open."
Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing watched Richard Scott Smith for hours with a team of private investigators they hired to track him down. Grady told Vanity Fair, “Obviously, putting a camera in any situation changes the outcome. The attitude of P.I.s will definitely change the outcome. But we agreed to it because we didn't want to just sit and watch these women whirl around to get justice when we could actually help them. "
Surveillance footage from a parking lot where Richard Smith enters a hotel room with a new woman
"There were times when he was the perfect partner," said Ellen. and there were times when he could look at you but it was like he didn't see you, his eyes didn't look right.
Jean Hansen has been married for less than a year and thinks she is woman number eight or nine. She was ransacked in $ 700,000 worth of debt when Richard persuaded her to invest in one of his bogus businesses and was forced to borrow money just to file for bankruptcy. Jean found out that Richard was engaged to another woman named Sandi a few days before their own wedding in July 2015.
Jean found out about Sandi months later when Richard was arrested in a hotel room for domestic violence. Sandi told police that she thought Richard would kill her after knocking her down and hurling an iPad over her. He tried to tell Jean that he had "jumped" and been charged with Falsey, although this inconsistent with his domestic violence charge. She said, "And I thought that's unlikely because I'm his wife and he didn't beat me up."
Richard's success with women depended on his ability to become "whatever someone wants him to be," director Rachel Grady told USA Today. "He's a chameleon."
Depending on the victim, Richard pretended to be a down-to-earth used car dealer, sometimes he was a successful lawyer, a professional water skier, the owner of a real estate company, a wealthy doctor, an experienced pianist, a black belt in karate, pilot, cook, financier and wine connoisseur. In reality, he's a high school dropout with no college degree.
Very little is known about the family history of Richard Scott Smith. His aunt tells the documentary that he had a chaotic childhood. He was raised by his grandparents until the age of nine when his verbally abusive, alcoholic mother took him back and disappeared without a trace. It would be 27 years before he was reunited with his family. Smith's mother died when he was 32 years old and left him to care for an orphaned 12-year-old sister named Toni. Now, an adult living in Texas, she tells the documentary, “Scott jumped from woman to woman and told them I was his daughter. She claimed Smith was violent and verbally abused: "He used me as a tool to play on their hearts."
Richard Scott Smith's aunt tells filmmakers how she was betrayed by her nephew too
Eventually these women, engrossed in grief and anger, formed a sorority of confused lovers with the unique aim of bringing him down and preventing him from cheating on others. They connected on a blog called Scott The Crook Smith, which was launched in 2016 by Lisa Lenton. (Lenton was married to Richard in 2012 and requested to be repealed).
The place became a meeting point for its victims, who exchanged stories and tracked the whereabouts of the elusive Conman. An entry from "Another victim" asks: "Did he wrong you too?" – "Yes," replied the anonymous person, "I'm another victim. Are you a new victim? What has he done to you?"
When Richard failed to appear in court because of his assault, & # 39; Ex Girlfriend TN & # 39; the community: & # 39; Hello everyone, I just wanted to bring you up to date … today should (sic) be the trial for the attack. Rick called the court and said he couldn't make it because his stepsister Meghan was in a bad car wreck and he had to fly to California to be with her. Well I called Meghan's work today and you know what? You got it, she is at work and has NOT had a car accident !!!! & # 39;
A post on the blog page reveals a screenshot by Smith that reads, “This is all defamatory and inaccurate information. Please remove & # 39;
They tried to warn new victims, but it was already too late for many. In August 2016, & # 39; Concerned & # 39 ;: & # 39; Sabrina wrote If you are able to receive this message from Kansas City / Lenexa / Olathe, you know the car you just leased under your name for Rick / Scott or whatever he calls himself is the first step is to get you into financial trouble. Be careful with your credit cards and open new accounts under your name. He lets you know that he will pay out the balance and everything else related to a business that you own or manage. & # 39; By the time Sabrina got wise to Richard, he had already cheated on her of $ 95,000 and skipped town.
Karla Campbell left her children and 39-year-old husband for Richard after they met at karaoke. From the beginning she was aware of the allegations made against him, but the Master assured her that it was only a witch hunt. After all, she wondered, "If there was something wrong with you, wouldn't he go to jail?"
It wasn't long before Richard convinced Karla to empty her husband's pension fund and open a restaurant in Wichita, Kansas. The blog didn't chop up any words: “Hey Karla, the ONLY reason he's with you is for your money because you have NOTHING ELSE that he needs. He does not love you. & # 39;
And just like so often before, Richard emptied Krab Kingz's business account and disappeared. Karla faced angry salespeople and employees when her pay slips went down. "He lives from people's dreams and makes their fantasies come true," said Karla.
Despite his long rap sheet, Richard Scott Smith remained relatively uncontrolled for years. And although there was an arrest warrant against him, law enforcement officials were apathetic when it came to taking the matter up.
"It was almost like," You should have known better, honey "or" I hope you learned your lesson, honey, "which law enforcement officials said verbatim to several women," director Heidi Ewing told Vanity Messe.
Award-winning directors Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing first heard about the story a few years ago via the blog. Stunned by the injustice, they felt compelled to help the "Vengeance Squad" track down the man who had robbed them of their money and dignity. Ewing told Vanity Fair, "So we just thought you know what, if someone can do it, we are."
They sold the concept to Showtime and started filming in 2017. The days passed with no clue, and the filmmakers decided to hire private investigators in various cities where Richard was believed to be hidden. In diesem Moment verwandeln sich die Dokumentationen in einen Krimi, der sich in Echtzeit abspielt, und der Betrachter ist mit dabei.
Viele Monate und die Absteckung von Parkplätzen später zahlten sich die mühsamen Bemühungen des „Rachekommandos“ schließlich aus und Richard Scott Smith wurde 2017 wegen Identitätsdiebstahls und Fälschung verhaftet. Er wurde zu 10 Monaten Gefängnis verurteilt und im April 2019 auf Bewährung freigelassen.
Der produktive Betrüger kann jetzt tun, was er will, und es scheint, als ob er alten Tricks gewachsen ist. Grady erzählte der New York Post, dass eine Frau den Wohnwagen gesehen und ausgestreckt habe: "Sie sagte, dass ihre Schwester bei ihm lebt (und) er sie nicht fernsehen oder mit ihren Verwandten sprechen lässt." Sie fügte hinzu: "Ich denke, die Schleusen öffnen sich gleich."
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