Balding, a bit hunched, and stuck with a tentative smile and nervous stutter, Richard “Scott” Smith was improbably irresistible.
Always on the make and often on the run, he’d provide women a supportive shoulder to cry on and promises of financial stability. Blown away by the roses and texts, they could not help but fall for him.
But according to “Love Fraud,” a four-part docuseries premiering Sunday night on Showtime, Smith broke the hearts — and much more — of at least a dozen women.
He fleeced some out of their savings and shattered the credit of others. One victim was convinced to invest in a business of Smith’s. She then had to borrow money just to file bankruptcy. It’s estimated that collectively he swindled a string of ladies out of more than $1 million.
“He was married at least 11 times, sometimes to multiple women simultaneously. It was a full-time job, not a hobby,” said Heidi Ewing. She and co-director Rachel Grady discovered Smith through a Web site where victims would warn others against falling into his web of deceit.
As Grady told The Post: “We found a sisterhood of women trying to bring down a bad guy. We thought we could help.”
Tracy was 45 years old, a divorced mom and real-estate agent in Kansas City, Mo., when she met Smith, now 49, online in 2016. He was going by the name Mickey.
He besieged her with voicemails about “wanting to be loved.” Claiming to be a pilot, he wined and dined Tracy and took her on a motorcycle ride for their first date.
“One minute we were dating,” she says in the series. “Then the next minute he was staying over.”
A minute after that, Smith suggested marriage and that they buy a new house for themselves. Tracy put down $2,500 as an initial deposit, and felt confident her fiancé could pay his share.
“He bought me a Porsche and promised to pay for my son’s college,” she said. “I was relieved. I thought I would be able to put my son through school and never have to worry about finances again.”
Luckily, her daughter, then 22, intervened. “Kayla was suspicious,” Tracy told The Post. “She searched his car, found a document with his real name, looked him up on the Internet and went to the Web site.”
That’s how she learned about Smith’s history of fleecing women.
“By the time I got home, [my family] had the locks changed,” Tracy recalled. “Scott called me and said [that the Web site] is a witch hunt. I told him, ‘I don’t ever want to see you again.’ We took his clothing to Goodwill.”
The Porsche, bought with a hot check, was repossessed. Said Tracy: “It was all lies.”
The Post could not reach Smith or his last attorney.
Smith was born into what Grady called “a chaotic family” in the Midwest. His aunt explains in the doc how he was raised by his grandparents, because his “mother was abusive.” She died when Smith was 32, and he took in his 12-year-old half-sister, Toni.
“Scott was jumping from woman to woman and telling them that I was his daughter,” Toni says in the series, claiming that Smith was violent and verbally abusive. “He used me as a tool to play at their heartstrings.”
The appeal of the con appeared to go beyond money for Smith, who worked as a car salesman but sometimes claimed to be a lawyer or doctor and awaiting a $12 million insurance settlement. “He seemed to take pleasure in making people fall in love with him and then dropping the hammer on them,” Ewing said.
That’s what happened to Karla, a middle-aged Kansas hairstylist whose 39-year marriage had fizzled. Smith wowed her with karaoke and told her that his nicknames ranged from Richie Rich to Big Daddy to Big Money. He convinced Karla to drain her and her husband’s bank account to open a restaurant in Wichita.
KC Krab Kingz was a success, until Smith emptied the restaurant’s bank account and disappeared.
But Smith is not behind bars. Grady said one woman saw the trailer and reached out: “She said that her sister is living with him [and] he won’t let her watch TV or talk to her relatives.”
Grady expects more: “I think the floodgates are about to open.”
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