DALLAS - An alleged con man who poses as a war hero and is accused of ripping off women all across the country has been indicted on federal criminal charges.
Derek Alldred could be facing years in federal prison thanks in part to the efforts of Minnesota women who say they were among his victims. Both Joann and Linda tell KARE 11 Investigates they feel vindicated by the federal charges. They ask that their last names not be used to protect their privacy.
“Validated, vindicated,” said Linda of Woodbury. “It makes you feel like it’s not all in your head.” “Not crazy,” added Joann.
KARE 11 first exposed Alldred a year ago, tracking down victims across the country.
Joann and Linda are two of nearly 20 women who say they were scammed by Alldred after meeting him on online dating sites.
The women say Alldred gave them fake names and fake jobs, but what he took from them was very real.
“It’s way bigger than he opened a credit card in my name and charged a bunch of money,” Joann said. “It’s about my trust. It’s about my security.”
When Joann met Alldred in 2014, he was posing as a lawyer named Derek Alldred, complete with business cards and a secretary. According to a police report he opened up a credit card in Joann’s name and racked up $17,000 worth of charges, including a trip to Hawaii.
Linda lived with Alldred for months in 2016. By then, he was posing as a Navy Seal captain named Rich Peterson. He had the military uniforms and a Purple Heart that seemed to prove it. By the time Linda found out who he really was, she says he had cleaned out her life savings.
“I was in a pretty dark place when I found out who he was. When I found out everything was just a lie,” she said.
But there were no criminal charges filed at the time in Minnesota. So Alldred went on to Arizona, where he was convicted of stealing from another women he met online. Again, he was posing as a Navy Seal. But Alldred was released on bail and skipped town before his sentencing.
KARE 11 continued to hear from alleged victims in California and Nevada. Finally, this summer Alldred was caught and arrested in Texas.
“The women in that small town in Texas, the police took them seriously,” Linda said.
Local police called the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) to report a Stolen Valor case. Navy investigators interviewed the women KARE 11 had identified all across the country.
Alldred is awaiting trial in federal court after being indicted on 10 charges including Identity theft, mail fraud, and felon in possession of a firearm.
In the bail documents, investigators credited a “support group” of victims who “track and alert” people to Alldred’s scams.
Joann and Linda are part of that group. “I think it’s when women band together and there’s power in numbers,” said Joann.
Both women are relieved Alldred is behind bars.
“I felt a sense of justice. I felt a sense of satisfaction even though it wasn’t for us women here in Minnesota,” Joann said.
Still, they are disappointed he is only charged in the crimes against Texas women.
“I still want more. I want Minnesota to do something about it,” Linda said.