'Charming' doctor tries to con SA woman

2013-11-02 14:26
Facebook. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Facebook. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Pietermaritzburg - Dr Valentino Cole Smith is charming, kind and sensitive. He is also a fraudster who scams women out of money.

A Pietermaritzburg woman, who does not want to be named, was charmed by the bad doctor, and struck up an online friendship with him. They have been chatting on Face­book, e-mailing and SMSing each other since August.

Smith told the woman that he was from Rome, and that he was an orthopaedic surgeon based in Baghdad. He was on contract there, working for the United Nations (UN) helping victims of bombings.

When it came to face-to-face visiting, Smith said he was not sure when he could come, as he had to see when his contract ended. Suddenly, despite there being no flights out of Baghdad, the UN arranged a private jet for him, and he was coming to South Africa.

“I got a message from him saying he was detained at OR Tambo airport. He said the UN had paid him $850 000 (R8.6m), which he had in cash, and that made the customs officials suspicious.

"Later I got a call from a lady saying she was from customs. She asked me if I knew Dr Smith and when I said yes she said they could not allow him into the country with only foreign currency. If I did not pay them R40?000 they were going to deport him.”

The “customs official” insisted that the woman had to pay the money as she was Smith’s only contact in the country. “I’m not stupid … I didn’t part with any money and we haven’t spoken since.”

The woman initially contacted Weekend Witness wanting assistance for the plight of the doctor. After a quick internet search on his name, Weekend Witness realised the woman was being scammed and advised her to have no further contact with him or anyone wanting money for his release.

The internet search had revealed that no Dr Valentino Cole Smith, based in Baghdad, could be found.

What was found was a website named whocallsme.com, which carried complaints from women all over the world who have been scammed by a Dr Valentino Cole Smith, an orthopaedic surgeon based in Baghdad.
Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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