Soon after giving birth, Delbecq says, Dahm approached her and confessed that he had criminal charges pending against him. "The baby was just born — she was 2 weeks old — and here comes Chris saying, you know, 'I'm out on bond, and somebody is looking for me.'"

Dahm's criminal past has some color to it. Police records show that his first felony charge was in 1995, long before he met Delbecq, when he presented a fake ID to a cop. According to the arrest report, when Dahm was placed in the squad car, he went berserk and tore off an armrest. He was removed from the car and blasted in the face with pepper spray. Court records do not show the ultimate disposition of that case, but he progressed to crimes that required far more cunning.

From July 2006 through January 2008, Dahm and several associates created bogus real-estate companies and executed a profitable telemarketing con, according to court documents. They would call condo owners around the country and say the firm could sell the property in a few weeks for a $900 listing fee. Then, down the line, Dahm and his constituents would claim the condo was sold — it wasn't — but there were unexpected closing fees. After the person paid up a second time, the half-baked real-estate moguls vanished. The list of victims ran from California to Texas to Maine.

Leslie Delbecq (left); her mother, Jeanine De Riddere; and her father, Philippe Delbecq, are wanted by the FBI on charges of 
international parental kidnapping.
Courtesy of FBI
Leslie Delbecq (left); her mother, Jeanine De Riddere; and her father, Philippe Delbecq, are wanted by the FBI on charges of international parental kidnapping.
Christopher Dahm has kept his daughter Gabrielle's room just as it was when she was kidnapped by her mother almost two years ago.
Chris Sweeney
Christopher Dahm has kept his daughter Gabrielle's room just as it was when she was kidnapped by her mother almost two years ago.

Delbecq says the unsavory characters who showed up at the house in search of Dahm weren't the victims of the real-estate scam. Rather, they were former partners and co-workers whom Dahm had ripped off. To play it safe, Dahm stashed loaded guns around the house and locked his pregnant wife in the apartment. On one occasion, Delbecq says, Dahm answered a knock at the front door with a loaded pistol in hand.

"He claimed people were looking for money," Delbecq says. "[He claimed] that he was not responsible, that Gus Geldman was responsible, who at the time was his business partner. It turns out that Chris just stole money from everybody." Dahm and Geldman ran a company called D&G Platinum Advertising from September 2008 through September 2009, according to records from Florida's Division of Corporations. What the company specialized in is unclear. Geldman could not be reached for comment, but court records show he has an extensive criminal record that includes at least five felony charges.

With Dahm's criminal venture collapsing and a retinue of pissed-off associates trailing close behind, Delbecq took her daughter and moved into her parents' condo. On January 30, 2009, Dahm was notified that Delbecq wanted a divorce.

In the child-custody negotiations that followed, Delbecq proposed that she and Gabrielle move to Dubai, where she had a $70,000-a-year job offer to teach English. Once a month, Delbecq would pay to fly Dahm to Dubai — an approximately 20-hour trip each way — and provide lodging for one week. She promised to arrange "liberal telephone contact, email contact, and interactive web conferencing."

In a court document, she summed up her desire to be far from Dahm thusly: "The lifestyle that my husband has chosen to lead places my daughter in harm's way. He has been charged with a felony, which, if he is convicted, could result in a prison sentence. His history of poor choices and decision-making has adversely affected both our financial wellbeing as well as our safety. By way of example, one of his prior business ventures resulted in former employees coming to the house and throwing rocks apparently in retribution for non-payment of salaries owed by my husband. The net result was that my daughter and I, for the brief time we resided with Christopher Dahm, literally were in a lockdown situation with limited transportation... Additionally my husband had loaded firearms which he kept in the bedroom where we slept with my infant daughter."

In depositions related to the divorce, Dahm refused to explain his financial situation, saying, "I've been advised from another counselor not to answer... anything to do with former businesses, former financials, former assets, former cases." Bank statements showed Dahm moving around $186,000, but he struggled or refused to provide context for the transactions. Another statement included a $68,000 cash deposit that Dahm said he "probably" remembered.

Throughout the questioning, Dahm's attitude drifted from evasive to jocular to angry to whiny. "I have a belching disorder, I have acid reflux, I have lactose intolerance," he stammered at one point. "What else do I have? I do have memory problems, so I take ginkgo biloba five times a day." Delbecq's attorney drilled into Dahm's past, quizzing him about a domestic-violence complaint filed against him by his own mother and his previous struggles with addiction.

Still, Dahm's erratic behavior, shady financials, and criminal history weren't enough for the court to award Delbecq sole custody. On January 27, 2010, a year after Delbecq had filed for divorce, the judge ruled that Dahm and Delbecq would share custody of Gabrielle and that Delbecq was not permitted to relocate with the child. In the final ruling, the judge noted that both the husband and wife had substance-abuse problems. The judge cited testimony from Dahm indicating that Delbecq breast-fed the child while drunk and that the mother-in-law "thinks the child is hers."

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5 comments
joslin1
joslin1

I worked for Chris in 2011.  He was using the name Henry and speaking directly with timeshare owners, getting them to send thousands of dollars for properties he (and others in the office) claimed they had buyers for.  This only stopped when I answered the phone one day and an FBI agent asked for Chris Dahm (until then I did not know his name) and stated that he was standing outside his alleged office (a PO Box) and that he knew who he was and who his probation officer was (The address we used and gave victims was in Wyoming).  I only worked for him for 3 or 4 weeks (something I am ashamed of ) and only got paid for the last week by threatening to email a "client" he stole $15,000 to $20,000 from.  He is a complete and total scumbag and theif and should be in prison, not on probation.  It's a lucky child that does not have him as a father.

valeriegeldman
valeriegeldman

I am glad to hear that Leslie and the baby are doing fine. I am Gus Geldman's wife, and yes my husband may have made some mistakes, but he did everything right in that warrenty company and chris stole all of our money, we had to let our employees go right before thanksgiving, and people were mad and showed up to chris house throwing rocks and threatening Chris. He was a smooth talking man who new how to manipulate others. He used our money to pay for that fancy wedding and take that nice honeymoon. And leslie and her mother showed up to my door and I told them how he had stole every dime from us. She had already made up her mind to divorce him. I am glad that Gaby is far from him, I do not believe he has changed and does not deserve to have her in his life.

ChrisSweeney
ChrisSweeney

Chris Dahm's lawyer has sent an email to the New Times raising concerns about some points made in this article. Below readers can find his letter, as well our response to the points made. 

 

Dear Mr Sweeney:Some corrections to your article:Leslie and Chris got married at Saint Pius X Catholic Church in Fort Lauderdale, NOT the St. Regis. The reception afterward was at the Hyatt Pier 66 in Fort Lauderdale.Chris  NEVER gave Leslie a gun to use for any reason. The ONLY loaded gun in the house was in their nightstand, in their bedroom. Chris NEVER said that anyone was looking for him, because they were NOT. Chris  was always very easy to find.In 1995, Chris NEVER went berserk or tore off an arm rest. Chris claims that he NEVER claimed that ANYONE’S condos were sold; he contends  that people who worked for him made those claims to the public, not him. Chris maintains he  NEVER stashed loaded guns around the house, NOR did he ever rip ANYONE off. ALL of the other guns were locked up, and NOT loaded. He further claims that he  NEVER stole ANYTHING from ANYONE. There was never a “lock down” situation at his residence.It should be noted that Leslie had the full opporuntiy to raise her concerns at the trial, which she did, and they were considered by the court in its decision. Please correct your article accordingly. Thank you for your consideration.

 

*Chris  NEVER gave Leslie a gun to use for any reason

We never wrote that Chris gave Leslie a gun. We have her quoted saying that he put one in her drawer. It’s a direct quote. This point is discussed in court documents filed during the divorce by Delbecq. And Chris told me that Leslie discharged the gun when trying to take it out of the drawer on one occasion.

 

*Chris NEVER said that anyone was looking for him, because they were NOT. Chris  was always very easy to find.

This is from a direct quote that Leslie made. Furthermore, the court documents include Delbecq discussing that someone came to their house looking for him. Saying that Chris was always easy to find is subjective.

 

*In 1995, Chris NEVER went berserk or tore off an arm rest

The arrest report that we viewed from 1995 describes how Chris was placed in hand cuffs and put in the back of the squad car. While in the back, he managed to get the cuffs in front of him and “pulled the armrest off.” In the story, this assertion is qualified with “police records show.” He was removed from the car and hit with pepper spray, according to the report. He was charged with ‘resist/obstruction w/o violence,” among other things.

 

*Chris claims that he NEVER claimed that ANYONE’S condos were sold; he contends  that people who worked for him made those claims to the public, not him. 

Chris pleaded no contest to felony fraud charges for his role in the timeshare scheme. The description of the scam in court records includes detailed description of how the scam worked, including that people were told their condos had been sold.

 

*Chris maintains he  NEVER stashed loaded guns around the house

Chris told me that his ex-wife discharged a loaded gun that he had put in the dresser drawer. Furthermore, a court document filed by Leslie states: “Additionally my husband had loaded firearms which he kept in the bedroom where we slept with my infant daughter.”

 

*NOR did he ever rip ANYONE off

Allegations that Dahm ripped people off are in direct quotes from Leslie and they appear in documents filed by Delbecq during the divorce proceedings.

 

*ALL of the other guns were locked up, and NOT loaded

Delbecq claims otherwise. And there is discussion in the second deposition about how the guns were later removed from Dahm’s house and then locked up at his grandfather’s home. Delbecq claimed that Chris had another loaded pistol at his disposal, which he once answered the door holding.

 

*He further claims that he  NEVER stole ANYTHING from ANYONE.

Delbecq claims that he did steal money from co-workers. And, again, Chris’ pleaded no contest to felony fraud charges.

 

*There was never a “lock down” situation at his residence.

In a court document filed by Leslie, she wrote: “my daughter and I, for the brief time we resided with Christopher Dahm, literally were in a lockdown situation with limited transportation.”

 

*It should be noted that Leslie had the full opporuntiy to raise her concerns at the trial, which she did, and they were considered by the court in its decision.

This is abundantly clear in the article.

 

*Leslie and Chris got married at Saint Pius X Catholic Church in Fort Lauderdale, NOT the St. Regis. The reception afterward was at the Hyatt Pier 66 in Fort Lauderdale.

Leslie told us twice that the reception was at the St. Regis. However, we will run a correction nothing this point. 

 

 

adrianmiceli
adrianmiceli

I love your explanation on each of these.  Leslie deserves better than Chris and should not have to be a runaway with her child.  Chris should be in jail.

 
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