‘Love Fraud’: Is Richard Scott Smith Still on the Run?
Showtime’s Love Fraud tracks con man Richard Scott Smith, as bounty hunter Carla Campbell tries to bring Smith to justice. The docuseries premiered on Showtime on August 30 and Campbell reports that Smith is still on the run.
Smith married 10 women and depleted their savings, putting some women close to $1 million in debt. The women in the documentary explain that they met Smith via an online dating app and he seemed to be too good to be true.
Relations moved fast in each instance and Smith insisted he and his newest target marry and join finances. He purchased homes, jewelry, and cars, only to quickly disappear, leaving the women in serious debt. One woman who was victimized by Smith wrote a blog, which was discovered by one of the women’s daughters on the show. That’s when Campbell was asked to help, which she did pro bono because she was so enraged with Smith’s actions.
“These girls, they just struck a chord with me,” Campbell told Oprah Magazine. “I’ve been through an abusive relationship. I’ve lost money. I’ve already been there and did all of that stuff. It was just like, They need my help because they’ve got nobody else.”
Carla Campbell says Richard Scott Smith is still on the run
“He’s not done. He’s still out there. I’ve talked to his first wife and I’ve talked to his last victim and he’s doing the same thing,” Campbell said. Smith is known to possess 43 phone numbers and 10 different social security numbers, which has allowed him to evade capture.
Although Smith was jailed in 2018, he was released in April. Documentary filmmaker Heidi Ewing says he was last seen in August 2020. “That’s the last we heard of him,” she said after he was spotted in Kansas.
Campbell expressed concern that the documentary will only push Smith to go more underground. “Criminals tend to dive in deeper when there’s something going on,” she said. “If they think there’s somebody watching them, they’ll go further underground. I think that’s what this show is going to do. It’s going to move him further underground. Nobody’s going to know where he’s at until he’s got another victim that comes forward.”
Filmmakers are motivated to tell the women’s story
Ewing and filmmaking partner Rachel Grady were captivated by the stories of the women who Smith loved, robbed and left. “That really made us mad,” Ewing told Vanity Fair. “So we just thought, you know what, if anybody can do it, it’s us.”
“He’d been doing this for over 20 years,” Grady added. “The women would get so disappointed and feel so bad—like no one cared—that we really started to feel fueled by them. I think it was a motivator.”
While the women and filmmakers are hot on the trail, Ewing admits to moments of frustration trying to track Smith. “There were a lot of demoralizing months when none of us had a clue where he was,” she said.
The addition of Campbell was an important piece to not only the series but to finding Smith. “She was somebody who understood the law, could help track him, and knew how he could be brought to justice legally,” Ewing shared. “She was a linchpin in the sense that she hadn’t been wronged by him, but she encouraged the women and supported them and just had some credibility because of her experience with criminals.”