Southsea fraudster conned Tinder-match millionairess in Dubai to give him almost £150,000

A fraudster posing as a successful businessman conned a millionairess he met on Tinder into handing him almost £150,000, a court heard.

By Richard Lemmer
Wednesday, 17th November 2021, 1:14 pm

Richard Dexter promised victim Amrita Sebastian that he was on the verge of a ‘big windfall' and 'significant sums' after telling her he had acquired the patents to valuable biopharmaceutical technology.

The 37-year-old told her major multinationals – including US medical firm 3M – were interested in signing a multi-million pound deal with him.

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Richard Dexter Picture: Solent News & Photo Agency

On the back of his lies, Miss Sebastian – a Middle East-based executive – handed over a series of payments totalling £141,000 believing they were investments, prosecutors say.

However, Dexter pocketed the cash for himself and came up with a series of increasingly bizarre excuses for why he couldn't pay her back.

A jury at Portsmouth Crown Court heard it was then that Miss Sebastian called the police.

When officers raided Dexter's Hampshire home they found a document which claimed he had more than £4m invested with the financial services company Hargreaves Lansdown.

Richard Dexter Picture: Solent News & Photo Agency

But this was a 'total fabrication', the court was told, with the account actually belonging to a friend of his whose final balance was actually just 37p.

Dexter is then accused of forging patent documents to try to 'wheedle out' of his alleged fraud, prosecutors said.

Robert Bryan, prosecuting, told the jury that Miss Sebastian met Mr Dexter on dating app Tinder in 2015. He claimed he was a ‘successful businessman’ selling biopharma software.

He 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 he could cover any losses she might make.

Mr Bryan said: ‘At the centre of his fraud were patents and a patent catalogue 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 Bioreactor Paddle. She invested.

‘Over the ensuing months he said he needed further funds to pay others.

‘He told her that she wouldn't lost anything as he had more than enough to replace her investments.

‘Nevertheless worried that her initial investments were at stake and when he said he needed further funds to cover the balance of things such as lawyers' fees, she advanced him more funds."

Miss Sebastian continued paying him to ‘protect’ the initial investments with the promise of a ‘large windfall’ ahead, the jury heard.

Mr Bryan continued: ‘Towards the end of 2016, he promised her that he would repay her full investment in January 2017 at the latest.

‘On that basis, she lent him the final £5,500 as he was in dire financial straits heading towards Christmas.

‘He promised that he would pay her £100,000 as interest.’But Miss Sebastian ‘of course’ received nothing with Dexter giving the excuse that the bank had closed his account and had taken control of his home, the court heard.

After they agreed Dexter would repay her £141,500 by April 2017 which would settle the debt 'in full', he never replied and the money did not arrive, a jury heard.

Miss Sebastian then went to the police.

In April 2018, police went to Dexter's house in Waterlooville where they found a financial document from Hargreaves Lansdowne in a bedside cabinet which was 'only partly genuine'.

The jury was told the last real investment report found the account belonged to a friend of his and only had 37p in it before it was closed.

‘Why doctor an investment report belonging to another to show you have £4m?’ Mr Bryan asked the jury. ‘His fraud pleas may well inform you.

‘Mr Dexter does not have, nor has he had an account with Hargreaves Lansdown let alone one containing over £4m.’

The court heard in December 2018, USB sticks were handed in to police by his former partner, Maisie Evans, which contained ‘licensing agreements’ purporting to relate to a patent.

The court heard the UK's Intellectual Property Office could not find anything to suggest the patent referred to in the agreement was ‘genuine’.

And the court heard they appeared to have been created after he had been first arrested by police.

But Dexter now claims Miss Evans created the documents to ‘frame’ him.

However, Mr Brian told the jury: ‘Even if she created the documents, it is still him, not her, who attempted to pass off as genuine [the documents] that were created post-interview [with the police].

‘The evidence is quite clear, it is him who created the documents to try and wheedle himself out and is a clear attempt to pervert the course of justice.’

Dexter, of Southsea, pleaded guilty to seven counts of fraud. He denies one count of possessing an article used in fraud and one count of perverting the course of justice.

(Proceeding)