A 23-year-old man who allegedly met gay men online and then robbed them was sentenced on Nov. 21 to 9 years and 3 months in federal prison.
Derrick Patterson, of Compton, was sentenced by United States District Judge John F. Walter, who ordered him to pay $84,195 in restitution. Walter also applied a hate crime enhancement to Patterson’s sentence.
Patterson admitted in his plea agreement to robbing five victims from June 2021 to March 2022. The robberies occurred in Beverly Hills, West Hollywood and Hollywood. Patterson targeted victims using Grindr, a social networking platform for LGBTQ+ people, and met his victims at their homes or in hotel rooms under the pretense of engaging in sexual encounters. Many times, Patterson asked to use victims’ phones and then used them to transfer money to himself or make purchases, authorities said.
During a July 2021 incident, a victim discovered Patterson had used his phone to steal money and confronted the suspect, who threatened the victim with a knife. Patterson used the victim’s Venmo account to steal $3,950 and used a different online account to pay for two hotels.com transactions, authorities said.
In February 2022, Patterson met another victim, threatened him with a stun gun and demanded money, authorities said. The victim gave $120 to Patterson. The defendant fled with the victim’s phone and later used it to ask the victim’s contacts for money. Patterson also used the victim’s phone to access the victim’s Apple Pay account and opened a line of credit in the victim’s name with Goldman Sachs, authorities said. Patterson then went to a T-Mobile store in Los Angeles and used the Goldman Sachs credit line to purchase Apple Airpods for approximately $275. Patterson also used the victim’s bank account to pay for a hotel room, authorities said.
Patterson admitted in court documents that he assaulted one victim – against whom he used a homophobic slur – and threatened to shoot another victim during an encounter in a hotel room.
The FBI investigated the case, with assistance from the Los Angeles Police Department, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and Beverly Hills Police Department.
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