Cancer patient says alleged con man tried selling fake miracle cures
The Elkhart man at the center of an alleged fraud scheme and murder-for-hire plot, is also accused of trying to sell fake miracle cures to cancer patients.
Charles Ray Smith faces six charges of wire fraud and a charge for an unlawful monetary transaction. Investigators say he stole upwards of $300,000 from victims he tricked into phony investments.
Elkhart County resident, Mary Bass, says Smith tried selling her fake miracle cures when she was diagnosed with cancer.
“My initial thought was, ‘how many more victims are there?’,” Bass said. “He seemed to really want to come across as someone cold, vicious, and tough.”
Mary moved from Fresno, CA to Elkhart County after being diagnosed with leukemia. She says Smith tried using the same gauntlet of tricks on her, federal prosecutors accuse him of using to steal from at least 4 other victims. Bass said Smith tried pressuring her into buying real estate from him. Then, when he learned about her diagnosis, Bass says he peddled miracle cancer cures he claimed to have discovered in Tibet.
“It was in a very strange looking glass bottle. I don’t drink at all, but it looked like something that would be on display at a bar,” Bass said. “It was very ornamental. It does not look like anything I would want to imbibe.”
Bass said the price was $50,000.
“And then if I took this potion, within two weeks my cancer would be eradicated. These are the claims that were made to me,” Bass said.
Bass said she would have blown Smith off; but along with the promise of cures, she says Smith brought a lingering threat of violence
“He has firearms that are on his ankle, and on his waistband, it was very nerve wracking,” Bass said.
At that same time, federal agents were closing in on Smith. According to court documents, once investigators started talking to victims, a confidential source with the FBI said Smith made arrangements to have victims and witnesses killed.
Smith is out of prison. He’s confined to his home in Elkhart, wearing an electronic monitoring device, through the end of his trial. Bass worries that’s where he could be most dangerous.
“Smith is probably more dangerous with a phone than he is with a gun,” Bass said. “And in my opinion he does not act alone in these fraud schemes.”
She still fears the greatest risk to her health isn't Leukemia, it’s Charles Ray Smith.
ABC57 reached out to Smith through his attorney. His lawyers couldn’t comment on Smith’s current charges or the allegations from Mary Bass. Smith has pleaded not guilty to all charges. His jury trial is set for February 15, 2022.