Grindr fraudster violates probation order after posing as a university professor

A man convicted of scamming men he met on Grindr has been found guilty of violating a probation order after he pretended to be a university professor on the dating app, a judge has found.

Christian Richardson, 45, has a "near uninterrupted history of criminal acts of dishonesty," a B.C. provincial court judge said in his decision last week as he slammed Richardson.

"I can say without hesitation I do not find Mr. Richardson's evidence to be truthful, nor does it leave me in reasonable doubt," wrote Judge David Silverman.

Richardson has been convicted of more than a dozen counts of fraud over the span of more than a decade, court records show, including completing a jail sentence in 2021 related to using fake cheques to steal more than $3,000 from two Metro Vancouver men whom he met on Grindr.

Richardson has now been found guilty of violating a probation order that forbade him from using dating apps or contacting people he doesn't know over the internet for sexual or romantic purposes.

Richardson remains in custody awaiting a bail hearing on Thursday. A sentencing date has not been set. He has also been charged with fraud over $5,000 in a separate incident and will appear in court in July.

Grindr app is seen on a mobile phone in this photo illustration taken in Shanghai, China March 28, 2019. REUTERS/Aly Song/Illustration
A judge found Richardson used multiple Grindr profiles to communicate with a University of Victoria software engineering student. (Aly Song/Reuters)

The 'professor'

The judge found Richardson used multiple Grindr profiles to communicate with a University of Victoria software engineering student "clearly for sexual or romantic purposes."

The communication began in the winter of 2022, court heard.

The student testified that he first started speaking with a person named Jordan, who then suggested that he meet a University of Victoria (UVic) "professor."

The student and the professor spoke on Grindr, exchanging sexual messages, before moving onto Snapchat, where they had a video sexual encounter, court heard. The professor gave the student Richardson's Snapchat username.

Eventually, the student went to the professor's rented basement suite.

"When he met The Professor, he learned his name was Chris, identifying Mr. Richardson in court," the judge said.

The student testified that he checked his Grindr account and saw that the names "Jordan" and "Chris" were geo-located 20 to 30 feet from each other, interpreting that to mean that the two people were essentially in the same place and suspected that Richardson was behind both the "Jordan" and "professor" accounts.

The student recalled Richardson changing his story to say he was actually a student at UVic, the court heard. He also told the student that he had plans to buy a multimillion-dollar home, that he had invested $25,000 in an app, and that he could get the student a job to test it, according to the court decision.

The student went to the police shortly after their meeting due to "red flags," according to the decision.

A statue of Lady Justice, blindfolded and holding balanced scales, resides at Vancouver's Supreme Court building.
The judge described Richardson's defence as 'illogical and internally inconsistent.' (Peter Scobie/CBC)

Richardson's defence

Richardson testified that he never communicated with the student on Grindr and that he didn't even have the app on his phone.

He claimed the student became "known" to him when they met at a bar in November 2021. Richardson said the student was sitting next to people he knew. He said he waved at the table but did not talk to the student.

Richardson first spoke to the student as part of a group at a gym in 2022, he said, claiming that the student was the one to first reach out to him on social media.

The judge was not convinced by Richardson's arguments, noting he believes it's difficult Richardson and the student would become known to each other through two random encounters.

"Richardson's evidence in the context of the whole of the evidence is illogical and internally inconsistent," the judge said.

"Richardson certainly would not be the first person to have lied about himself to get someone to sleep with him, but that is precisely the problem with his evidence."