A fraudster who posed as a successful businessman to con a millionairess he met on Tinder into handing him £141,000 has claimed he was ‘forced’ to plead guilty by his solicitors.
Richard Dexter, 38, of Portsmouth, Hampshire, allegedly posed as a ‘successful businessman’ and promised victim Amrita Sebastian that he was on the verge of a ‘big windfall’.
He allegedly told her he had acquired the patents to valuable biopharmaceutical technology and said major multi-nationals – including US medical firm 3M – were interested in signing a multi-million pound deal with him.
Ms Sebastian, a Dubai-based executive, handed over a series of payments totaling £141,000 believing they were investments.
But Dexter allegedly pocketed the cash for himself and came up with a series of increasingly bizarre excuses for why he couldn’t pay her back.
Dexter admitted seven counts of fraud at a previous crown court hearing – but now insists he did so ‘unwillingly’.
Richard Dexter, 38, of Portsmouth, Hampshire, pleaded guilty to seven counts of fraud at a previous crown court hearing – but now insists he did so ‘unwillingly’
Dexter allegedly promised victim Amrita Sebastian (pictured above) 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
Speaking in court today, Dexter has dramatically backtracked and claims he was ‘forced’ to plead guilty after the death of his solicitor, David Melville Walker, 75, who passed away in October 2020.
The self-proclaimed Bitcoin investor is currently on trial for two further allegations relating to the case.
‘I’m not a fraudster’, he told jurors on Tuesday.
He said Mr Melville-Walker worked on his case for three years and they met every two weeks and claimed after the lawyer’s death crucial documents could not be recovered.
‘I didn’t enter the guilty pleas willingly’, he told Portsmouth Crown Court, ‘I found a solicitor who sadly passed away during hearings.
‘I was left unrepresented and his firm had nobody to take my case on and they lost my files.’
He insists solicitors he instructed after Mr Melville-Walker’s death pressured him to say he was guilty and that he’s now applying to vacate his guilty pleas.
Prosecutor Robert Bryan said: ‘The solicitor wasn’t in the dock with you, the defence counsel didn’t have a gun to your head, you voluntarily uttered those words.’
He added: ‘After six years of being investigated, when a solicitor told me to do it I was going to take their advice.
Dexter previously 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
‘They forced me to say guilty. I took a decision based on a forceful view of a legal representative.
‘I said guilty on strong, forceful advice.
‘The day after I pleaded guilty I discovered the solicitors had not found the [final licensing] document, it had gone missing.
‘They had not seen a single shred of my defence evidence and made me plead guilty based on the prosecution’s evidence.’
Mr Bryan asked Dexter whether he is calling any of the lawyers involved as witnesses to prove his allegations. Dexter said he is not.
Dexter is now accused of forging patent documents to try to ‘wheedle out’ of his fraud.
He blamed his ex-partner Maisie Evans for forging a licensing agreement found within a USB stick, claiming she doctored it with fake investor names – including one similar to his favourite artist Ray Charles.
He says three finalised licensing agreements which would prove he rightfully bought the patent cannot be seen by the court.
He says one was with his dead lawyer and can’t be retrieved, one was on a laptop that was ‘stolen’ while he was at a concert in 2019, and the other is in a ‘storage facility’ in Tucson, Arizona.
He is also accused of producing a financial investment document which made it look like he had £4 million – he admits ‘falsifying’ it but claims that wasn’t fraudulent as it was just a working document.
Dexter denies possessing an article used in fraud and perverting the course of justice.
The trial continues.