A British swindler who duped a woman on Tinder is facing an extra two-year sentence for failing to pay back almost £150,000 ($195,000) in Bitcoin he now says he can’t access. A judge has warned the conman he has 28 days to find the keys to his wallet or face the extra jail time.
Richard Dexter, a Plymouth-based father of two, was convicted of fraud, perverting the course of justice, and possessing an article for use in fraud in February.
After receiving a four-and-a-half year sentence, Dexter promised the court his personal stash of Bitcoin would pay back the amount he took from Amrita Sebastian “within a day.” But two months later, no funds have shown up.
Dexter and Sebastian met on Tinder in 2015. Over the course of 14 months, the Dubai-based executive handed over a substantial sum in what she thought were short-term loans or business investments.
“He alluded to his immense wealth and private jets, expensive cars, and said he had more by way of interest in his investments than a doctor’s salary,” prosecutor Robert Bryan told a UK court in February.
Dexter claimed his fortune came from prosperous investments in Hollywood and the biopharma industry. Sebastian gave a total of £121,000 ($145,000) to Dexter so he could roll-out a piece of promising biopharmaceutical equipment, in a story that rings familiar to that of Netflix’s show the Tinder Swindler.
Twinder swindler can maybe pay in donuts, not Bitcoin
The father of two was summoned back to UK court this week. In the hearing, Dexter claimed he had been “locked in a cell for 23 hours a day with no access to telephones or emails” due to COVID-19 and that he had no legal representation.
“I have nothing you can take apart from my shop which probably won’t last a month,” the UK Tinder swindler told the judge. Dexter is the owner of a donut shop called Sticky Boy in Southsea, Portsmouth which opened its doors in January — just a month before he received a four-year prison sentence.
But once Dexter was convicted, the shop closed. A slew of negative reviews poured in on Google, all bizarrely replied to by the shop’s owner.
One reviewer named Jim Lemon said he never thought he’d be disappointed by a donut. “Not even made fresh […], limited choice of flavours, poor choice in drinks.”
The response from the owner:
So disappointed by a donut you didn’t buy, from a shop you didn’t visit, that you felt compelled to post a one star review? Slow Thursday, Lemon?
How about a lemon donut, Lemon? We’ll keep all the tangy goodness, and give it a sweet centre, just like you. But we’ll make sure to avoid the sour, and bitterness that can sometimes make a lemon unpleasant.
The Tinder swindler also told the judge he had filed an appeal over his conviction. When asked about his failure to pay back Sebastian with his £200,000 ($240,000) worth of Bitcoin, Dexter claimed “I have no access to it. Cryptocurrency fluctuates on a minute-by-minute basis.”
The judge then denied Dexter’s request to adjourn the court hearing because the defendant was “not being specific.”
Dexter is currently on bail but under house arrest in Southsea from 6pm until 6am. He can’t travel internationally and will be formally sentenced on December 23.
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