Crime

‘Every word out of his mouth is a lie’: Women say Lenexa man wooed them, ripped them off

The women in Richard Scott Smith’s life — the many women — have a story to tell.

It is, they say, a story of financial fraud, personal deceit and, in at least one case, bigamy. And in another, it was a case of a vicious physical assault.

It is also a story that some of them have banded together to tell in the hope that they can prevent Smith from hurting anyone else.

The former wives, fiancees, girlfriends or business partners of the 46-year-old Lenexa man say a criminal case recently filed against Smith in Johnson County District Court is just the latest example of his alleged years-long pattern of romancing and then taking financial advantage of women.

“He tells great stories,” said Jean Hansen, one of Smith’s many former wives. “It’s part of his charm.”

But Hansen said she has learned from hard experience that “every word out of his mouth is a lie.”

For her, that included his marital status when she and Smith flew to Las Vegas and got married in August 2015.

Only later did she learn that Smith was still legally married at the time to a woman in Georgia.

That woman, Lisa Lenton, married Smith in April 2012. Their marriage has never been legally dissolved or annulled.

After learning that her husband was still married, Hansen was granted an annulment last year in Johnson County District Court.

Lenton said she left Smith after only a few months of marriage, but she has so far been unable to get their union annulled.

But her experience with Smith prompted her to start a blog about him. It was through the blog that Hansen learned Smith was married to another woman.

The blog has become a sounding board and way to connect for women around the country who say they were alleged victims of Smith.

“We are a very close-knit circle,” one of them said.

Hansen said that through conversations with other women, including Smith’s first former wife, she’s learned she may have been the eighth or ninth woman he married.

Smith himself seemed unsure of how many times he has been married when questioned in January by Lenexa police.

“Probably five times,” he told a detective, according to an affidavit filed in Johnson County District Court.

The affidavit was filed to support allegations of forgery and identity theft that Smith is now facing in Johnson County.

The name of that alleged victim was redacted from the affidavit before it was made public.

That woman told police Smith was her former fiancee, according to the affidavit.

She said she and Smith had lived together, but she left him last October after he “maxed out her credit cards and drained their joint checking account,” according to the affidavit.

She “then learned that Smith was still married to another woman, and had been married to other women and previously accused of taking financial advantage of these women,” a detective wrote in the affidavit.

The charges allege that Smith used the woman’s name and personal information to fill out a credit application and then forged her signature on the application.

Smith told detectives that the woman had given her information to him and had signed the application. She was “adamant” that she had not, according to the detective.

The felony charges were filed against Smith last month, and he was released from custody after posting a $10,000 bond.

At a court appearance Thursday, Smith asked the judge for more time to hire an attorney. The case was reset until March 23.

After the hearing, Smith declined to comment to a reporter.

“My lawyer told me not to comment,” he said.

But when contacted later by phone, the lawyer Smith referred questions to said he had not yet been hired to represent Smith.

Lenton, his wife who started the blog, said she was lucky, because she left Smith before he could access her finances.

“When I left, I froze my accounts,” she said. “I’m glad I did.”

Hansen was not so fortunate.

As a result of her marriage and business partnership with Smith, she was forced to file bankruptcy because of all the debt she said he ran up using her credit.

Hansen met Smith through a singles group.

“We hit it off,” she said.

Smith told her he was looking for someone to help with his business, Prestige Corporate Living. The company leased apartments and subleased them to renters around the area.

Hansen agreed to join the business. Smith persuaded her to use her personal credit for business finances. He assured her that she would be paid back once he received the $1.2 million he was due for the sale of another business.

It wasn’t true, she said.

But by the time she had had enough and split from Smith, Hansen was so far in debt she had to borrow money to file for bankruptcy.

Besides learning that he was legally married to Lenton, Hansen also found out he was seeing another woman he got engaged to in July 2015, the month before Hansen and Smith got married.

That other woman, who lives in the Kansas City area, asked that her name not be used for this story because of her current job.

That woman was also involved in Smith’s business, and on a business trip to Des Moines, Iowa, in early September 2015, Smith assaulted her and was arrested for domestic abuse.

She was engaged to Smith at the time and was unaware that Smith had married Hansen a few days before the assault.

The woman called it a terrifying incident in which she thought she might be killed.

She was thrown to the ground, kicked and struck in the head with an electronic device, according to a Des Moines police report.

Smith was arrested that night and later placed on probation, according to court records in Polk County, Iowa.

When she and Hansen met in person for the first time, “we hugged each other,” she said.

“We have become best friends,” the woman said.

Hansen said she has no illusions about ever getting back any of the money she lost during her association with Smith.

“I’ve lost the money, and that’s done,” she said. “What we want is to put him in jail so he doesn’t do it to more people.”

At least one woman has successfully sued Smith.

Like Hansen, Holly Koch, of Kansas City, worked with Smith in his business after meeting him on an online dating site in 2014.

They began dating and moved into together, Koch said. She got involved in his business, and Smith made her a 50 percent partner.

In November 2014, he went with her to visit her family in Nebraska.

Her mother immediately became suspicious of Smith, she said.

And after that, her relationship with Smith became strained.

But they continued working together in the business until May 2015.

By then, Koch was on the hook for thousands of dollars that Smith allegedly spent using a company credit card.

She filed suit, and last year, Koch won a civil judgment in Jackson County Circuit Court against Smith for $90,000 plus interest.

He has yet to make any payments to her.

“I should have listened to my mother,” Koch said.

Tony Rizzo: 816-234-4435, @trizzkc

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