Discussion: The Ponzi Scheme That Rocked Tulare County
Arno Smit isn’t a household name in the valley.
But starting in the 1990’s the South African immigrant pulled off a scam the likes of which the valley hasn’t seen before or since. The story of this self-fashioned cattle baron who was actually running a ponzi scheme is the subject of a new piece in the California Sunday Magazine by journalist Tessa Stuart.
In it, she explores how Smit scammed Tulare County dairymen for an estimated $12 million, eventually fleeing the country and starting an international manhunt. Stuart joined us on Valley Edition to talk about how the smooth-talking Smit crafted his scheme, and its legacy to this day. Listen to the interview by clicking play above.