ATLANTA — A public works employee running an alleged online scam has been fired by the City of Atlanta after human resources got wind of his alleged fraudulent activity and violent criminal past.
Publicist Angela Moore didn't think twice when Facebook friend Van Smith – a guy she had never met, but shared mutual friends with – claimed to have a hook up.
"He says, 'No, I'm not a travel agent. I work for Delta, but I got good deals'," she recalled him telling her.
Moore told her client Peachanda Dubose, who wired Smith $300.
"I sent him the money, and he never sent me the tickets," Dubose told 11Alive's Ashley Johnson. "Plus, he stopped answering the phone about an hour after he got the money."
So when Smith fell off the radar, Moore said she put him on blast on Facebook.
"I tell you, that Facebook community went to town. They started pulling his address, his real name," she said.
Smith's real name is Venando Smith.
11Alive confirmed he worked with the city through something called the "re-entry" program, which helps those with a criminal past find employment. But 11Alive found he had a criminal record that included theft by deception, theft by conversion and other crimes.
The City told 11Alive Moore told them about Smith on Friday, the day after he allegedly took her client's money.
Almost a week later, the city released the following statement saying: "The individual in question was placed on administrative leave pending internal investigation into the matter, the conclusion of which resulted in the City moving forward with termination."
The city went on to say Smith was hired under the previous administration, but couldn't comment further about the investigation.
Moore said she was relieved the City took such swift action, even getting a call from the mayor's office thanking her for notifying the City.