ST. PAUL-A perennial fraudster who first made news by ripping off the St. Paul hotel several years ago, and who allegedly targeted dozens of women under a menagerie of identities, received a decades-long sentence this week from a Texas judge who said he was sorry he couldn't put him in jail forever.
Derek Mylan Alldred, 47, who is originally from California but later moved to Hawaii, Minnesota and then Nevada and Texas, was sentenced to 24 years in prison in federal court in Texas's eastern district Wednesday - the maximum sentence - after pleading guilty to mail fraud and aggravated identity fraud.
The case related to him stealing from a woman in Texas - though investigators turned up at least 25 women who shared similar stories, six from Minnesota. Nine of them read victim impact statements in court, urging the judge not to be lenient.
"If I could give you life in prison, I would," U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant told Alldred at his sentencing, adding that he'd presided over many fraud cases but never seen anything like Alldred's.
"This defendant left a trail of tears, emotional devastation, and financial ruin behind him," U.S. Attorney Joseph D. Brown said in a statement. "It is clear that he will never change, and we expect his sentence to reflect that."
Mazzant also ordered Alldred to pay $254,892.41 back to his victims.
Numerous women interviewed by the St. Paul Pioneer Press said Alldred resulted in them losing their savings, their homes - even their pets. He met them on dating websites, assuming a wide range of identities: doctor, firefighter, venture capitalist, investor with the Royal Bank of Scotland.
Nicely dressed, with a smooth, at times erudite demeanor, Alldred knew enough about the high life to talk shop with longtime investors - and was flexible enough to discuss medicine or the military with equal confidence.
Once earning trust, they said, he would then help himself to their savings.
Some of the first felonies committed by Alldred, dating back to his earlier years in California, relate to him going into emergency rooms, at times - under 38 different aliases - posing as a physician or fire battalion chief, to obtain pain medication. He was caught by a forestry official who saw through the badge he'd bought online, and his suspiciously high-ranking collar brass.
Alldred was legally married to at least two women, one of whom left after having her house - unbeknownst to her - put up for auction and sold. Her dog was taken to the pound - but later showed up on Alldred's Facebook page as his own.
Alldred would often convince his victims of his purported wealth by conducting lengthy phone conversations with "bank officials" or "business partners," whom they never met, or showing them websites touting his "investments." One woman told the Pioneer Press she noticed that the word "checking" on Alldred's website was misspelled.
"If he tells you the sky is blue, you better go check," Sheree Reilly, mother of Alldred's first wife and guardian of their daughter, told the Pioneer Press in 2014. "He said he worked for a car dealership when we first met him. He was always driving all these fancy cars. Then he admitted that he rented them."
"The only thing I can remember him working for was a tow truck company, and that was maybe six months, if that," Reilly added.
He first made news in St. Paul after being caught with another apparent victim at the St. Paul Hotel, and skipping out on the $1,875 bill. He was arrested a short time later trying to check into a Country Inn in White Bear Lake, with no way to pay.
His LinkedIn résumé at the time displayed an assortment of vice president, director and management positions, along with gigs as a broker and clinical researcher (one reference noted he was the "key sponsor of the 200th Episode party for Baywatch.") Alldred also claimed to have earned a molecular biology degree from the University of Minnesota. University officials said he attended for two years before dropping out.
After skipping out on bail and being re-arrested in Oregon, he was sentenced to 15 months in Ramsey County court by Judge Rosanne Nathanson for a single count of theft by swindle.
But soon after, Alldred was back on the dating sites.
The latest charges arose after a woman from The Colony, a city in Texas, caught him using her credit card behind her back, racking up $12,000 in charges for expensive clothes and jewelry.
His later identities included roles as a defense analyst, Southern Methodist University professor, and Navy pilot - prompting the intervention of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.
"It (the experience with Alldred) has proven to destroy all aspects of my life - my emotional and physical well-being, my dignity, sense of trust, growth in my once bustling career, and has ultimately left me financially devastated," a victim impact statement by one of the women, Cindi Pardini, said.
"I was once a very social and vibrant person - I now have become someone who never goes out to dinner with friends. I never socialize or go to parties. I never make plans to go out of town, and I barely go out of my house. Arguably, I am a recluse with no life. I feel defeated."