'Seduced by Evil' conman Derek Alldred's victim recalls emotional devastation from relationship: 'I knew everything was wrong'
Derek Alldred will be serving the next 24 years behind bars in federal prison for duping more than two dozen women out of over $2 million dollars. A serial conman, Alldred used his excellent interpersonal skills and natural charisma to woo his target demographic — middle-aged, lonely women — before stealing their credit cards and identities, and then bleeding them dry.
His impact on his victims could hardly be summed up better than prosecuting US attorney Joseph D. Brown, who was quoted saying after the sentencing, "This defendant left a trail of tears, emotional devastation, and financial ruin behind him. It is clear that he will never change."
One of those victims was Missi Brandt. While she would be lucky in the sense that he did not, for whatever reason, decide to steal her life savings as he did with the other women, the emotional grief she suffered during her time with him was arguably second to none.
It all started after Missi decided she would give love another chance. After all, what's the worst that could happen?
In the Spring of 2016, the then-45-year-old Missi, of St. Paul, Minnesota, seemed to have weathered the worst of the storm. A flight attendant by profession, she had already gone through a messy divorce and was now two years sober. She had just bought a house and a new car as well, and in her own words, her life was "smashingly great."
So, she decided the only logical step would be to put herself out there once again. Start dating. She registered on OurTime.com, a dating website for middle-aged people, in the hope that she would find herself the right man.
"I always figured I see myself with someone a little older," she tells MEA WorldWide (MEAWW) during an interview.
Soon enough, she came across the profile of one Richie Peterson, who stood out from the rest because of his distinguished accomplishments — he was a naval officer, a veteran who served in Afghanistan, and was now pursuing his doctorate in political science at the University of Minnesota.
Missi seems comfortable enough talking about her hellish experience these days, though it was obvious she found it hard to hide her disdain for a man she once knew as Richie.
Was there anything beyond his glittering CV that attracted you to him, I asked. "He was close to me and lived in my general area, and from the picture you could see, he appeared to be a better-looking man," she laughs, before quickly adding, "I guess."
They seemed like a perfect match for each other, helped by the fact he got along swellingly with her daughters. Though like all relationships, things became a little rough after the initial honeymoon phase. Richie had a penchant to often go missing for days at a time and then not showing up when he was supposed to. Even when he was there, he would have to visit the hospital often for what he said were lingering issues from his time in service, or would have some excuse for why he couldn't be there.
And there were plenty of other signs that not everything was peachy as well. "He was mentally abusive," she reveals. "He never physically touched me but the things he would say, all those words had to be the point of no return. But I kept letting him come back. The girls would also be like, 'Where's Richie? Where's Richie?' and I would have to say 'I don't know' each time. I was tired of not having him show up. Then, after a motorcycle accident he had gotten into, he called to ask if I could pick him up and I'm like, 'Oh God, fine.'"
Richie told her he wanted to take a shower. Missi's curiosity got the better of her. He had left his phone and his wallet lying outside, and Missi could not help but take a look. It would confirm her worst fears.
"I tried looking at his phone but it was completely powered off and I didn't know how much time I had. So, I just opened the wallet and then there was a Minnesota state ID that said, 'Derek Mylan Alldred,' along with his social security card and two of Linda Dyas' credit cards in there."
When she Googled the name, there was no shortage of mug shots, as well as articles which detailed his history as a conman and his penchant for tricking middle-aged women out of their money. Bewildered, she went on to read every little bit of information she could find about his scams and his arrests and made up her mind: she would take him down. She banded together with Linda and some of the other women he had conned and, unbeknownst to him, they began tracking his movements.
A major operation in Fort Worth at the Texas Health Harris Heart Center in June 2017 saw the authorities finally arrest him. A few days before Christmas that year, Alldred pleaded guilty to two counts of identity theft and one count of mail fraud. During his sentencing in August 2018 at the Paul Brown Federal Courthouse, where 10 of his victims had shown up, the judge imposed the maximum possible sentence of 24 years behind bars.
Recalling the moment and how she felt, Missi is initially at a loss for words. But having gathered her thoughts, she says, "Well, I was so super happy. It was such a bittersweet moment because he got this whole time, yet I was so angry it had to get to this point. I felt some justice. Because he's never going to do anything other than this, and he's going to steal, hurt women, and hurt children and their families."
Once burned, twice shy, they say. But Missi didn't let her relationship with Alldred dull her faith in love. She tells me she's already seeing a guy. Someone she's known from as far back as high school. "We've always been friends and Facebook friends, and for the last few years, he's lived down the road from me but we've never connected," she reveals.
"And up until recently, I was on some dates but I'm so, I think messed up, that anyone that doesn't jive with what I think, I'm out," she chuckles. "So, I tried to date and I ran away. But with this man that I'm seeing now, I know who he is. I know what he's about and I'm looking for a future with him."