International — 28 December 2006 — by Keisha Milligan
Amandala today spoke with a not-too-happy Matthew Smiling, proprietor of the famous “Smiling Meats,” located on New Road in Belize City, who is not only angry that his business is being used for nefarious purposes, but also wants to warn the general public, abroad and in Belize, about a con artist operating in the United States.
Smiling told us that there is a man using the name of “Allan Smiling,” assumed to be stationed in the U.S.A., who is using Matthew’s business name, address, two business telephone numbers and home numbers as a pick-up area for goods received from residents of Los Angeles and Chicago for transportation to Belize.
Smiling said that it began in September of this year – the calls from residents of Belize City asking for someone by the name of Allan Smiling. At first he and his workers just dismissed the calls, telling callers that there was no such person there by that name.
In November, however, the calls became more frequent, Matthew Smiling said. That was when he decided to ask the callers who this Allan was, and why they kept on calling there for him. That was when he was told by a caller that he was to collect a package there that had been sent with “Allan” from Los Angeles.
That’s when he became aware that something was wrong, said Smiling. He explained to the caller that he knew no “Allan,” and furthermore, that he knew nothing of what she was talking about. By this time they had received about ten to eleven calls, relating the same concerns as that of the caller whom he questioned.
A couple days later they received call from a woman in Los Angeles who said that she had been given that contact number because she had sent two barrels of stuff for relatives in Belize with “Allan.”
You could hear the pain in the woman’s voice, said Smiling and he felt for her. That prompted Matthew to quickly make a call to his uncle, who is a member of the council in Los Angeles, so that he could investigate. Matthew was told to forward all other calls by asking the person who called to call either the council in LA or the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD).
He did receive another call, in the early part of November, added Smiling, and he did as he had been requested – he told the caller to call LA.
He thought the issue had been addressed, because he had not received any other calls, but on Boxing Day, December 26, he received the 12th or 13th call, from a woman who said that she was to collect a package there, at his business, from someone in Chicago.
He told her to call LA, and later called his uncle again, informing him that the merchandise sent was not from LA, but now from Chicago.
This morning a man did not call, but came to Matthew’s business place, saying that he was there to collect a computer and printer that had been sent for him from Chicago.
Smiling said that it upsets him to know that this man is using his name and business to con people. He is therefore asking the public to be very wary of this “Allan” person. He is in no way connected to “Allan,” he said.
So far Smiling’s uncle’s checks and the police investigations have not turned up anything concrete, and they are still investigating.