Compton Man Sentenced to Over 9 Years in Prison for Targeting and Robbing Gay Men He Met on the Grindr Online Dating Application
LOS ANGELES – A Compton man was sentenced today to 111 months in federal prison for targeting and robbing Los Angeles-area gay men he met on the Grindr online dating application.
Derrick Patterson, 23, was sentenced by United States District Judge John F. Walter, who also ordered him to pay $84,195 in restitution. At today’s sentencing hearing, Judge Walter applied a hate-crime enhancement to Patterson’s sentence.
Patterson has admitted in his plea agreement to robbing five victims from June 2021 to March 2022. He targeted his victims by using Grindr, a social networking platform for gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. Patterson met his victims at their homes or in hotel rooms under the pretense of sexual encounters. Once there, Patterson asked to use the victims’ phones.
During a July 2021 incident, Patterson entered the victim’s home under the pretense of a sexual encounter. He then asked to borrow the victim’s phone. Patterson then had sex with the victim to distract him while using the victim’s phone to transfer himself money. When the victim realized something was wrong and protested, Patterson went to the victim’s kitchen, pulled out a kitchen knife, threatened the victim, and then used the victim’s Venmo account to steal $3,950. Patterson also used the victim’s online account to pay for two Hotels.com transactions, and he used the victim’s phone to send text messages to the victim’s friends and family in Nevada to request that they send the victim money, which Patterson intended to intercept.
In February 2022, Patterson entered another victim’s residence under the pretense of a sexual encounter. Patterson asked if he could use the victim’s phone. After the victim handed Patterson the phone, the victim turned away and then heard a stun gun activating. Patterson chased the victim with the stun gun and demanded money. The victim gave $120 to Patterson, who then demanded jewelry.
After Patterson left the victim’s home, he used the phone to ask the victim’s contacts for money. Patterson also used the victim’s phone to access the victim’s Apple Pay account and open a line of credit in the victim’s name with Goldman Sachs. Patterson then went to a T-Mobile store in Los Angeles and used the Goldman Sachs credit line to purchase Apple Airpods costing approximately $273. Patterson also used the victim’s bank card to pay for a hotel room.
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’s investigation in this matter is ongoing. The Los Angeles Police Department, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the Beverly Hills Police Department have provided substantial assistance.
Assistant United States Attorney Jeremiah M. Levine of the Violent and Organized Crime Section prosecuted this case.