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Meet 9 Women Who Banded Together To Bring Down Con Man Derek Alldred
Romance scammer Derek Alldred stole $2 million from more than two dozen women.
During Derek Alldred's career as a serial romance scammer, he targeted and stole $2 million from more than two dozen women. The con man, who often disguised himself as a decorated veteran or successful investor, met many of his female victims through online dating sites before romancing his way into their financial accounts.
For many of the women, it took months before they realized how much damage Alldred had done.
After a string of cons in 2013, some of his victims began putting the pieces together and formed an unofficial task force to bring Alldred to justice. In the documentary "Seduced By Evil," premiering February 9 at 8/7c on Oxygen, nine of Alldred's victims open up about their relationships with the con man and reveal how they ultimately took him down.
1. Cindi Pardini
Tech executive Cindi Pardini met Derek Alldred in 2012 through mutual friends on Facebook. They met in person in September 2013 after he asked to stay at her home, claiming that he wanted to relocate from Hawaii to San Francisco. Presenting himself as an investment banker, Alldred said he was in the city on business and lied about yearly earnings of $35 million. Within days of meeting, Alldred had hacked into her finances. He ultimately stole a total of $250,000. Pardini was unable to bring criminal charges against Alldred, but began a personal mission to bring him down. She later became the point person for Alldred's other victims.
2. Wendy Harvey
Wendy Harvey, a Maui social media agency CEO, met Alldred on a dating website, where he was going by Derek "Allred." He claimed to be a financial advisor living in San Francisco and sent her dozens of lavish gifts, including a pair of $3,000 diamond earrings. Harvey became suspicious of Alldred early in the relationship when she found no online record of "Derek Allred." Shortly after, she received a phone call from Pardini, who had found Harvey's contact email on Alldred's computer. He had been dating both women at the same time and had used Pardini's money to fund his gifts for Harvey.
After leaving Pardini, Alldred met Kimberly, a doctor, on Match.com in late 2013. Alldred used his real name but told her he was part owner of a financial firm looking to move back to Hawaii. Kimberly owned successful anti-aging practices in both Maui and Minnesota. When the relationship became serious, Alldred offered to become her business manager. He ended up stealing more than $35,000 in fraudulent checks, $60,000 in fraudulent credit and a $28,000 advance he managed to get from her job. Kimberly had to bankrupt her business and said Alldred had threatened to ruin her personal and professional life if she left him. An incident in Puerto Rico, covered at length in "Seduced By Evil," led Kimberly to fear that her life might even been in danger.
4. JoAnn Venhuizen
Going by "Derek R. Allarad," Alldred told Minnesota school teacher JoAnn Venhuizen, who he met on Match.com in 2014, that he was an international banking lawyer. Venhuizen sensed something was off when Alldred took her on a romantic Hawaiian vacation to meet his daughter who never showed up. Once the couple was back on the mainland, Venhuizen looked up his daughter on Facebook and found that her last name was spelled differently. After searching his real name, she realized that Alldred was far from Prince Charming: there was a warrant out for his arrest. Alldred stole $24,000 from her.
5. Linda Dyas
In 2016, Alldred met Minneapolis nuclear scientist Linda Dyas on OurTime.com, a dating site for mature relationships, using the alias of "Rich Peterson," a Navy reservist and political science PhD student. He built up his persona with full military uniforms, medals, and certificates, including fraudulent Purple Heart and SEAL team training paperwork. The relationship quickly became serious, and Alldred told Dyas he was a financial planner in the 1990s and offered to help with her finances. By the time she figured out he was actually a con man living under a false name, he had completely wiped out her accounts and stolen $325,000 from her retirement account.
6. Kimberly Nelson
While still involved with Dyas, Alldred met Minneapolis IT executive Kimberly Nelson on OurTime.com, going by the name "Rich Peterson," a professor who spent his free time volunteering at the local homeless shelter. The two dated but broke up after a few months. They reconnected in July 2016, but not long after, Nelson found out about his scammer past. He had stolen $8,000 worth of her jewelry, her passport and her birth certificate. Nelson also discovered Alldred had actually been living at the homeless shelter where he was reportedly volunteering.
7. Missi Brandt
While in relationships with both Nelson and Dyas, Alldred also started courting former flight attendant Missi Brandt, who he also met on OurTime.com. Alldred told Brandt his name was "Richie Peterson," a Navy reservist and political science PhD student. When Brandt lost her job, Alldred offered to pay her bills — but he didn’t actually make the payments. Brandt went through his wallet and found a state ID that belonged to one Derek Alldred. She Googled his name and discovered he was a serial scammer who had used Dyas' money to fund his and Brandt's life.
8. Dorie Watkins
In mid-2017, Alldred met Dorie Watkins, a human resources manager from Dallas, on PlentyOfFish. Going by "Rich Tailor," Alldred told Watkins he was an employee for the Department of Defense and worked as a Navy jet pilot. Watkins became suspicious a few weeks into their relationship when Alldred kept cancelling their plans. Watkins decided to look through his iPad and saw photos of "Rich" under the name Derek Alldred. She did an online search of his name and read several articles detailing his past romance scams — but by then, he had already stolen about $17,000 from her. Watkins went to the local police department to report Alldred, bringing along his fake uniforms and badge.
9. Tracie Cooper-Cunningham
While dating Watkins, Alldred began another PlentyOfFish relationship with Dallas health care executive Tracie Cooper-Cunningham. He also told her his name was "Rich Tailor," presenting himself as a “semi-retired” political science professor who had also served the Navy. Cooper-Cunningham ended things after a month and a half, but on the same day she broke up with Alldred, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service called her to expose the con man. They convinced her to take part in a sting operation to finally catch Alldred: and she did. She took photos of his arrest as he was led away from the hospital where he had been trying to procure pain medication.
Alldred was arrested on June 1, 2017, and a year later he was sentenced to 24 years in prison for one count of mail fraud and two counts of aggravated identity fraud, according to the Star Tribune. The financial and emotional ruin he visited on his many victims is, to some degree, balanced out by the camaraderie of these resourceful women. Know their story in “Seduced by Evil,” the 90-minute special airing on Saturday, February 9 at 8/7c on Oxygen.
[Photos: Courtesy of Efran Films]