When a group of women realized they'd all been scammed by the same man, who crafted a unique persona to woo each one of them before taking their money and disappearing without a trace—they all wanted one thing: revenge.
The women’s quest for vengeance plays out over the new four-part Showtime docuseries “Love Fraud,” which chronicles the alleged exploits of Richard Scott Smith as he leaves a sea of angry women in his wake.
The women — aided by Carla Campbell, a foul-mouthed bounty hunter based in the Kansas City area—eventually track Smith down in Knoxville, Tennessee — just as he’s allegedly moving in on his next targets —and Smith is arrested and sent to Polk County Jail in Iowa for a parole violation.
But just where is the elusive serial dater now that the cameras have stopped rolling?
Filmmakers believe he may be back to his old tricks.
“We know he’s in Johnson County, Kansas because someone saw the trailer and said her sister was living with him,” Heidi Ewing, who co-directed the project with Rachel Grady, recently told Refinery29. “She shared the trailer with her and last week her sister dumped him. … He could be anywhere now.”
A Troubled Beginning
Smith—who goes by a array of names including “Rick,” “Scott,” or “Mickey”—has been described as a chameleon. The docuseries depicts the 49-year-old as someone who seamlessly molds his persona to match his latest love interest, whether it's professing to be religious or an atheist, a pilot or professional cook. But less is known about Smith’s true identity.
Smith’s aunt Katie said in the docuseries that Smith—who went by his middle name of Scott at the time—had lived with his grandparents until he was almost 9 because of “abuse going on with his mother.”
Smith’s mother had her own demons growing up after her mother and grandmother committed suicide together by setting their house on fire.
“That could have done a lot of things to her because she was just not sound,” Katie said.
When Smith turned 9, his mother took off with him, leaving no telephone numbers or forwarding addresses.
“It was like he dropped off of the face of the earth and who knows what she could have done to him,” Katie said.
According to Smith’s high school best friend, Gary, who also appears in the docuseries, Smith dropped out of high school his junior year and had already developed a taste for manipulating women.
“That’s when everything changed with him,” Gary said. “I mean it was like Scott became the type of person who can’t go without a girlfriend for very long.”
At times, Gary said Smith would even date two or three girls at the same time.
“He thought it would be cool to see how many girls he could date at the same time and not get caught,” Gary said.
Gary described his friend as someone who “would always tell lies” to the women he was dating.
“I don’t think he knows the difference between right or wrong no more and it’s either going to end one of two ways: in a jail cell or in a coffin, ‘cause he’s going to mess with the wrong woman one day.”
A Carefully Crafted Seduction
At first glance, Smith appeared to be a great catch. He was attractive and offered the middle-aged women he dated a shoulder to cry on; he left love-filled voicemails and told them he couldn’t stand to be away from them.
He allegedly told many of the women he was waiting to receive a multi-million dollar medical malpractice settlement and promised a life of financial stability—even telling one woman he would pay for her son to go to college; with another, he spoke of buying a house in Belize.
Smith quickly proposed and, in many cases, married the women.
“He was married at least 11 times, sometimes to multiple women simultaneously. It was a full-time job, not a hobby,” Ewing told The New York Post.
Smith often convinced the women to open joint checking accounts with him or used their credit to buy cars, homes or even businesses, according to the docuseries.
In one incident, a woman claims he left her with $750,000 worth of debt after he convinced her to start a business with him and then had her co-sign on a home mortgage. Smith didn’t pay the mortgage for months, but also hid the past-due notices so the woman had no idea how much debt she was collecting until he fled.
“He would use it to leverage the next con, basically,” Grady told The Kansas City Star. “He wasn’t stealing $750,000 in cash. He was taking $750,000 of their credit. That’s another thing that was very odd and very confusing about this story, is that he’s a con man that would (essentially) walk away with no money. … Why was he spending all of his time torturing people and humiliating people and walking away with pennies?”
He’s accused of swindling his victims out of more than $1 million, according to The New York Post.
Campbell—the crusty bounty hunter—said in the docuseries that Smith married the women to “get into their pockets.”
“When the marriage things come, everything he does is legal. There’s nothing they can do to him, because if he marries them, then it’s his. Community property,” she explains.
But Smith hasn’t always stayed on the right side of the law.
Smith was arrested in Polk County, Iowa and charged with domestic abuse assault in 2015 after one woman reported being attacked in a Des Moines hotel room, according to court documents obtained by Oxygen.com.
The woman, who was engaged to Smith at the time, told police he threw her to ground, kicked her and hit her in the head with an electronic device, according to a Des Moines police report obtained by Refinery29.
Smith was put on probation for that incident, but it didn’t stop him from wooing other women.
He was arrested again in 2017 for identity theft and forgery in Johnson County, Kansas after his former fiancée Sabrina Dunlap told police he'd had “maxed out her credit cards and drained their joint checking account,” according to an affidavit obtained by Oxygen.com.
She also told investigators that Smith had taken out a fraudulent credit application in her name without her authorization. She believed he had taken her driver’s license “likely while she was sleeping” and copied it to gain the information he needed to fill out the application and then “forged her signature at the bottom.”
Smith allegedly used her name to purchase two cars, open credit cards, and take out cable service in four Kansas City-area apartments, Dunlap later told The Kansas City Star.
“This guy ripped my world. Just boom and gone and then he just walks away,” she said in the docuseries. “I lost everything.”
He eventually agreed to plead guilty to the identity theft charge—in exchange for dropping the forgery charge—and was sentenced to 10 months in jail, The Star reports. When he violated his probation in 2019 after failing to report and failing to pay, his probation was extended until Oct. 29 of this year.
With the help of Campbell and a string of private investigators hired to track Smith down, he was eventually arrested again in Knoxville, Tennessee for violating his probation in the Polk County case and was sentenced to 180 days in jail.
Smith's time behind bars, however, was short-lived and he's apparently already back on the streets.
Even scarier, he’s supposedly dating again.
But Grady believes the publicity of the series could finally hamper his future romantic pursuits.
“I think it’s going to potentially ruin his dating life,” she told Refinery29.
"Love Fraud" airs on Sunday nights on Showtime at 9 p.m. ET/PT. The fourth and final episode will feature a sit-down with Smith, where he'll answer the allegations against him and explain his actions.
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