Richard Dexter, 37, pleaded guilty last year to seven counts of fraud and was convicted of possessing an article used in fraud and perverting the course of justice.
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A “profoundly dishonest” fraudster convicted of conning a woman he met on Tinder into handing over nearly £150,000 has been jailed for four-and-a-half years.
Richard Dexter, 37, had claimed to victim Amrita Sebastian he was a successful businessman on the verge of a “big windfall” when they matched on the dating apps .
As part of his lies, which included boasting he was worth £6.8 million and owned private jets and a hot air balloon, the dad-of-two said multinational companies were interested in signing a multimillion-pound deal with him as he held the patents to biopharmaceutical technology.
On the back of that Miss Sebastian, an executive based in the Middle East, handed over a number of payments worth £141,000 between 2015 and 2017.
They agreed he would repay her money by April that year to settle the debt but he stopped replying to messages and when no money arrived she went to police.
Ewan Galvin/Solent News)
Ewan Galvin/Solent News)
Dexter pleaded guilty to seven counts of fraud and not guilty to one count of possessing an article used in fraud and to one count of perverting the course of justice.
Jurors at Portsmouth Crown Court found him guilty of both counts last November.
After a raid on Dexter’s Hampshire home, police found a document which claimed he had more than £4 million invested with the financial services company Hargreaves Lansdown.
But this was a ‘total fabrication’ with the account actually belonging to a friend of his whose final balance was actually just 37p.
During the trial Robert Bryan, prosecuting, told the jury Miss Sebastian met Dexter on dating app Tinder in 2015. He claimed he was a ‘successful businessman’ selling biopharma software.
Dexter persuaded Miss Sebastian, who lives in Dubai but travels to the UK twice a year, that he needed capital to start production of a piece of scientific equipment.
At first she invested £40,000, then £68,000 two months later, having been assured that she could cover any losses she might make.
Mr Bryan said: “At the center of his fraud were patents and a patent catalog he claimed to be buying.
“Thereafter having said he had acquired these patents he said that well-known companies such as Pall Corp and 3M were interested in the patents and license deals which would bring in significant sums.
“What was required was upfront capital to begin production of a Paddle Bioreactor. She invested.”
One businessman Dexter had contacted, Roy Maunder, said he was ‘always trying to portray himself as a successful businessman’.
Mr Maunder said: “His stories came across as fanciful… He was a liar but a likeable character, he was a charmer.”
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Far from a millionaire, Dexter’s grandmother told the court he would regularly ask her to transfer him £10 because his “card wasn’t working”.
Dexter’s partner, 37 year old Hayley Jones, wept and told the court her boyfriend of three and half years is a good father.
Sentencing Dexter, Judge Mousley QC said: “I’m left in no doubt that dishonesty is a feature of your character and it is profound.
“You are someone who shows no hesitation in resorting to lies with an ease that is almost breathtaking. When your truthfulness is challenged you reach for more lies to cover your tracks.”