"He's incapable of sympathy": Victim of 'Seduced by Evil' conman Derek Alldred reveals how she was scammed out of $325,000
Linda Dyas thought she was in a relationship with Richard Peterson, till the truth was revealed and it turned out she was one among the many women conned by Derek Alldred
Derek Alldred could have been anything, his victims say. He was good-looking, charming, charismatic, and had a way with words. All he needed to do was put in the effort. Alldred did put in the effort, but he put it into his elaborate scams wherein he targeted middle-aged women who were divorced or going through tumultuous periods in their lives, pretend he was the man of their dreams, and then rob them blind.
His blueprint worked out pretty well for him too, and his years as a conman saw him plunder over $2.1 million from 27 different women in various states across the US.
But like most conmen, he would get a little too greedy for his own good. Unbeknownst to Alldred, his victims were in constant touch with one another and hatching a plan to take him down. He had been caught on numerous previous occasions but got out on technicalities. This time, they said, he would not be getting off so easy.
The stories of his victims, and how they banded together to see him put behind bars, is set to be chronicled in Oxygen documentary 'Seduced By Evil,' with one of those victims, Linda Dyas from Woodbury, Minnesota, agreeing to share her ordeal exclusively with MEAWW.
I talked to Linda over the phone, and despite having almost lost her voice, she soldiered on with her story. She said she met Alldred on OurTime.com, a dating website for people in the middle age, where he introduced himself as Richard Peterson. Things moved quickly from there, and before she knew, she said she had been in a relationship with him for about eight months.
So, amongst all those profiles on the website, what was it that attracted her towards him, I asked. "So, he liked dogs, he was doing his Ph.D. at the University of Minnesota, he was smart, and he wasn't pushy," she explained.
"A lot of the guys there are really pushy about what they want to do for dinner, and making a huge deal of a date with someone they didn't know. And all Richie wanted to do was go for a cup of coffee. We had a great time and he was very charismatic. Very funny. Very talkative. Very smart. He was easy to be around."
Around seven and half months into the relationship, however, Linda got an inkling that something was wrong, though she admits she didn't have the slightest clue what it was, or if it even was of any significance.
That suspicion was only compounded by a message she received on Facebook from one Missi Brandt, who she would later learn was one of Alldred's victims. "[Missi] sent me a message on Facebook with copies of his arrests, his felony convictions, and his mugshots, basically, and a note that said, 'Please read this, don't think I'm crazy,'" she revealed. "And I thought, 'Of course! This is crazy!' But when you read it..." she trailed off, "it's undeniable."
Linda said her previous suspicions were mostly limited to Alldred lying about teaching a class over summer, or about seeing another girl, but she had absolutely no clue that a man she had been seeing for close to a year and who she knew as Richie was, in fact, a felon and a con artist named Derek Alldred.
"My immediate concern was that I was in a house on my own with him," she said, "I didn't know what I was going to do, so I pretended to be sick and stayed in my bedroom all day. Later that evening, he came and told me he'd been in a motorcycle accident and that he needed to take my car to go to the hospital. And I told him no and that I needed the car, and that I would drop him off. That's how I got him out of the house."
After dropping him off at the hospital, Linda immediately contacted the police and told them about all that had transpired. He was apprehended by detectives and taken to a jail in Stillwater, and most of his victims would have breathed a sigh of relief knowing he was finally behind bars. The relief lasted all of 72 hours. He was released as police wanted to investigate the case further, and to nobody's surprise, he made a run for it. On the run, he would continue his conning spree.
He had stolen close to $325,000 from Linda during his relationship with her, but she was not the only one affected in her family. She divulged that her mother found the revelation that her daughter's affable boyfriend was a serial conman quite unbelievable.
"Well, my parents had met him and my mother adored him," she said. "He talked to her all the time. He was very nice to my mother. In fact, when she called me, she would ask if he was around and he would talk to her too. She was just completely floored by it [the revelation] because she believed him too. To be honest, everybody, including the police, who had met him, had believed him and his story."
After Alldred went absconding in August 2016, it took close to a year for law enforcement officials to catch him again.
This time, despite his best efforts, there would be no escape. "The NCIS and FBI agent whom he spoke to [after his arrest] said he was even trying to scam and gain favor with regards to where he was being held," Linda told me.
"So, he was already trying to manipulate people while he was in prison. It's all he knows and he's using his charm and his charismatic personality to gain favor and to win people over and to get things that most people wouldn't get."
A few days before Christmas 2017, Alldred pleaded guilty to two counts of identity theft and one count of mail fraud, charges with a maximum combined penalty of 24 years behind bars. Then, on August 22, 2018, at the Paul Brown Federal Courthouse — where 10 of his victims had turned up for the sentencing hearing — a judge ruled he deserved to serve every single one of those years in federal prison.
Speaking about that day, Linda said, "I was in the courtroom and the judge's words were very powerful. I was allowed to speak and give my victim statements, and the judge's words powerful in that, he got it. He understood there were far more victims [than those who showed up at the court] and that there was a big bucket of shame that comes with this. In the rollercoaster ride in that room, I was glad he was going to get 24 years. I didn't think it was going to be that much time."
Alldred did apologize to the victims who were in the courtroom that day, but Linda says there was no sincerity whatsoever in his statements. "He barely apologized," she revealed. "He's a sociopath. He's incapable of sympathy. He has learned over the years to mimic emotions. He does not have the ability to feel emotions. His apology was giving the judge what the judge wanted to hear in his mind. And really, none of us in the courtroom took him seriously."
It's been close to six months since that verdict, and Linda says she is doing better. A large part of that, she explains, is because she had the support of Alldred's other victims all the way.
"Shame drives most people not to bring their stories forward," she said. "But when I met the other girls, especially Missi, we were kind of able to help each other along the way and push each other to do to get out of bed and get out of work, to live again. And it is very helpful to have that."
"My faith in God has helped me because I know everything happens for a reason," she adds. "And this belief that there's some great lesson in here for me and maybe some teaching opportunity for me to help other people."
An experience such as the one Linda had can easily put a person off relationships and leave them vulnerable.
How do you ever trust anyone again knowing there was some chance they could very well turn out to be just as duplicitous as Alldred? Linda, however, has a much more inspiring and optimistic view on her ordeal.
"I am an extremely trusting person by nature and a lot of people have criticized me, a lot of my friends have criticized me for being so trusting and for putting myself in that position of needing to trust someone," she explained, "but you can't have friendships or relationships if you don't open yourself up to friendships and relationships. And by doing that, you open yourself to being hurt."
"I believe that most people in this world are good people. There are a few horrible, terrible, awful people who deserve to be in prison for their entire life but I'm not going to give up on the human race. I'm not going to give up on people."
'Seduced by Evil' premieres Sunday, February 9 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Oxygen.