By now, you’ve probably heard about the grade A d-bag who conned a Toronto woman to the point she became homeless.
On Wednesday, CBC published the story of 66-year-old Rita Fulciniti who was left broke and in a shelter after she loaned a real estate agent her life savings and he never paid her back.
But thanks to the kind hearts and generosity of Canadians across the country, Fulciniti will have a Merry Christmas after all.
Not long after the story hit computer screens, donations and offers began to pour in. CBC said that they received emails from Canadians looking to help in any way that they can – from offering cash, to a place to stay.
“I feel better than I have the last 14 months,” Fulciniti told the CBC. “I really appreciate everyone’s help. It’s going to be a Merry Christmas for me.”
But it wasn’t looking that way at the beginning of the week, that’s for sure.
As the CBC reported, in March 2015, Fulciniti approached a real estate agent named Chaim Smilovici –a real class act who also goes by the name Howard Smilovici – for help to find a tenant who would help cover the costs of the condo she was purchasing.
The year prior, she had put down a $42,000 down payment.
While Smilovici succeeded in finding her a tenant, he proceeded to bleed her dry financially after borrowing the $95,000 she had planned to put toward closing the condo once the construction was complete.
In June 2015, Fulciniti signed a loan agreement with Smilovici through his company, Maximum Sports Management Group Inc. which stated that she would be reimbursed the full amount with a $5000 cash bonus and an annual 12 per cent return on the loan.
And she hasn’t seen a cent since, despite repeated attempts to contact the real estate agent for more than a year.
Once the story broke, though, Smilovici called Fulciniti.
“He said that he wanted to get me out of the shelter, number one, and get me some money,” said Fulciniti to CBC. “I don’t believe him a bit, because up until today I don’t know where my money is.”
“I would like him to come out straight up and tell me the money’s gone and you’re not going to see it again.”
When CBC Toronto contacted him, Smilovici said that he invested the cash in a nightclub.
“The entire situation went backwards and the money is lost.” Smilovici told the CBC.
Fulciniti has been contacted by multiple law firms looking to represent her and fundraisers have been started on GoFundMe and YouCaring.
She has even been contacted by a man who wants to cover her rent for a year.
“I thank the people and everybody who’s tried to help me. I really appreciate it,” said Fulciniti. “I still have faith in people here in Toronto.”
If that doesn’t make you feel warm and fuzzy on this snowy day, perhaps this story wil or this one (and if not, you may not have a heart).