When con man Derek Alldred showed up in the life of the women he dated, he promised them everything: love, rescue, comfort. And women, taking him at face value, fell for the act.
Making headlines earlier last year for scamming and seducing at least 27 women, Alldred spent years slithering around the United States, meeting new marks and telling updated versions of old stories he had created about himself.
He was a caregiver: warm, loving, masculine, and a provider. Or so he would tell middle-class women from whom he’d steal thousands of dollars.
Alldred went unchecked until a group of women he conned gathered forces. In the upcoming special “Seduced by Evil, ” premiering on Oxygen on February 9 at 8/7c, documentarians look at the web of lies Alldred successfully spun to entrap so many women — and what it took for them to take him down.
So what were some common characteristics of his many romance scams — or his modus operandi, if you will?
Alldred would often meet women using online dating sites like Match.com and OurTime.com, seeking women in their 40s to 50s. He often would portray himself in uniform — sometimes a doctor, often a veteran, though he was known to take on other masculine personas, like that of an investment banker or lawyer. He even furnished identification and professional paraphernalia to bolster his credibility. Sometimes playing up his devoutness, Alldred would appeal to women going through rough periods in their life, often going through a breakup or divorce.
He also often dated more than one woman at a time — to groom more than one, surely, but also to have a backup in case one of them wizened up to his act.
“Many of his victims were in a vulnerable place in their lives… he presented himself as a hero and caretaker, the man who would step in and save the day,” noted reporter Rachel Monroe, who broke the story for The Atlantic last March.
Monica Whitty, who developed the Scammers Persuasive Techniques Model in research of online dating romance scams, found that the majority of male profiles tended to depict an attractive man secure in status and career with hobbies.
Often presenting himself as a veteran or academic, Alldred camouflaged himself in the valor and credibility of established professions while dating women. On “Seduced by Evil,” women who bounced back from Alldred’s scam showed props from Alldred’s many personas including business cards and uniforms.
Once he had ingratiated himself into their lives — not only by splurging on fancy meals and getaways to prove his financial success, but also with promises and savior behavior — Alldred would get to work.
JoAnn Venhuizen, one of eight women who spoke at Alldred’s sentencing, was robbed of $24,000. Alldred, who met Venhuizen on Match.com, told her his name was “Derek Allarad” and provided his attorney-at-law business card to Venhuizen. In the month they lived together, he stole her social security number and opened a credit line on her name. Venhuizen didn’t realize Alldred was a con man until she searched for his daughter on social media, finding someone with a slightly different name.
Alldred, after insinuating himself into these women’s homes, would use that increased opportunity to steal from them. He stayed at Cindi Pardini's house, claiming that he wanted to relocate from Hawaii to San Francisco. In the span of just 5 weeks, he drained her retirement fund, opened credit lines in her name and managed to steal a total of a quarter of a million dollars.
Alldred, 47, was sentenced to 24 years of prison time on one count of mail fraud and two counts of aggravated identity fraud.
Male scammers target loving and caring women, according to Australian researchers at Federation University, and present themselves as someone “in need of recovery and deeper emotions like ‘pity’ and ‘sympathy.’” Researchers concluded that to understand the fraudulent profile, you have to take into consideration the “personal love story” of the victim: “These profiles do not only follow typical characteristics, but are often as multifaceted as our familiar love stories.” Alldred, a master manipulator, knew exactly how to play into these women’s personal love stories, to which he has done irrevocable damage.
But by banding together for justice, there is hope for healing for these women. Watch their story in “Seduced by Evil,” a 90-minute special premiering on Oxygen on Saturday, February 9, 8/7c.
[Photo c/o Efran Films]
Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated that Derek Allred moved in with Cindi Pardini. He was staying at her home temporarily.
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