Love Fraud is the new four-part docuseries on Showtime that follows a group of women who were conned out of a lot of money by Richard Scott Smith, who married dozens of them over the years and then put houses, cars and more in their names, then disappeared.
They finally came together in 2017 via a blog started by Lisa Lenton, one of the women Smith conned. Love Fraud tells their story. Here’s what you need to know about what happened to Smith — but be warned of spoilers for the docuseries.
Smith Continually Eluded Jail Time
In February 2017, Smith was charged with identity theft and forgery in Johnson County, Kansas. Smith pleaded guilty to identity theft and received 10 months in jail (the forgery charge was dropped). That same year, he also had a probation revocation hearing in Polk County, Iowa, in regard to a 2015 domestic abuse assault case. The woman in that case told police she was thrown to the ground, kicked, and struck in the head with an electronic device, according to a Des Moines police report (via the Kansas City Star).
But the identity theft charge did not keep Smith in jail. He bonded out and then he violated his probation by fleeing to Knoxville, Tennessee and that’s where the Love Fraud women and their Kansas City area bounty hunter found him. They felt like it was up to them to bring him to justice because authorities were not interested in pursuing Smith.
“He was charged for identity theft and domestic violence, and he was charged, and he got probation,” said filmmaker Rachel Grady at the 2020 Television Critics Association winter press tour. “But then he skipped out on his probation, and then no one was looking for him because the law — the justice system seemed to not care about this kind of criminal.”
Co-director Heidi Ewing added, “So there was a national warrant for his arrest while we were looking for him. It was just no one was going to go looking for him except the victims and us.”
After his arrest, he was sentenced to 180 days in jail in Polk County, Iowa, for violating probation in the domestic assault case and did serve about six months in jail. But the blog where the women whom Smith conned found each other says he is still in the Kansas City metropolitan area. Some of the women claim he worked at various RV dealerships in the Overland Park, Kansas, area, then was furloughed due to COVID-19 and briefly delivered food for Postmates.
Smith’s Victims Still Demand Justice
Dozens of women claim to have been victimized by Smith. They are hoping to find new women to bring charges against him, which would violate his probation parameters.
One woman on the blog wrote that after he served time in Iowa, he “had to be transported to Johnson County, Kansas to appear for violating his probation regarding the identity theft case. The idiot judge put him back on probation for 18 months instead of back in jail like he said he was going to do if he violated his probation. That judge was all talk. Rick is currently on probation until this November.”
Those claims are backed up by court records (via the Kansas City Star), which show that in April 2019 Smith violated probation by failing to appear in court and failure to pay, so his probation was extended to October 29.
Another poster implores women to come forward if they have other claims against him in the hope that he’ll do more jail time if he is found to have violated his probation again, writing, “If anyone has any information regarding a crime committed against you recently regarding this *sshole, now is the time to come forward and make a police report in the city it happened in. Richard is still on probation in Johnson County, KS regarding a criminal case. If there is another criminal charge against him, that would violate his current probation and put him back in jail! Going to the police does not cost you anything. If anyone has any information and you have a copy of a police report, you can email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. We need him off the streets so he can’t hurt anyone else! YOU have the power! Not him!”
Love Fraud airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Showtime.