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Fake war hero gets 24 years in prison after defrauding women of $255,000

The Bronze Star and Purple Heart medals hang from U.S. Army Private 1st Class (Sep.) Lynn Aas’ jacket during an interview at the Dakota Territory Air Museum in Minot, N.D., Feb. 18, 2016. (Senior Airman Apryl Hall/U.S. Air Force)
August 25, 2018

In an extensive case of stolen valor and fraud, a man in Minnesota now faces a heavy prison sentence.

Derek Mylan Alldred, 47, was sentenced by a federal court to 24 years in prison after he pled guilty to mail fraud and aggravated identify fraud, Kare 11 News reported Wednesday. Along with the prison sentence, Alldred is ordered to pay $255,000 in restitution.

Alldred is accused of impersonating a military officer, and presenting himself as a U.S. Navy pilot and defense analyst to victims that he scammed, most of whom were women he met online.

He used phony uniforms and awards, including a Purple Heart and a Silver Star, to victimize a woman he was dating. He charged more than $12,000 to her credit card. The woman grew suspicious of him and filed a police report.

The Texas woman who reported Alldred to police said she met him online where he claimed to be a Navy pilot and professor by the name of Rich Tailor. She reportedly posted a video to Facebook in which she warned Texas women to be aware of Alldred.

“He likes to get on dating sites, meet women and scam them out of their money,” she said, according to Kare 11.

In 2016, Kare 11 published a profile on several women from Minnesota who also claimed Alldred posed as a Navy SEAL named Richard Peterson before stealing thousands from them. He stole nearly $200,000 from one woman alone.

Investigators discovered he had victimized 25 other people in California, Hawaii, Minnesota and Nevada. Alldred’s victims appeared in court from all over the country to provide their impact statements.

Alldred was arrested in June 2017 after a sting operation carried out by Texas police and the U.S. Navy NCIS agency.

After the recent sentencing, the judge in the case said he would’ve liked a harsher sentence for Alldred.

Due to the significance of fraud committed by Alldred, his sentence is likely one of the harshest given out to a convict who engaged in stolen valor.

In November 2017, a man was sentenced to just 10 years in prison after convicted of numerous counts of fraud and aggravated identity theft for living for two decades under the identity of an imprisoned veteran. At the man’s sentencing, the judge called his life “an elaborate fraud” in which he lived on government documents and to his own family, according to The Marshall Project.

The Stolen Valor Act of 2013 imposes possible fines and a prison sentence of up to one year for individuals who fraudulently represent themselves as a recipient of the Purple Heart, Silver Star or other significant combat awards for the purpose of obtaining money, goods or other benefits.