It is OK to use the simple present with tells in this locution because native speakers have been saying it for some 400 years. It might be paraphrased "I am told by Richard that ..." or "I understand from speaking with Richard that ..."
The form emphasizes the fact that the speaker is one of Richard's acquaintances, that they have met and are on speaking terms, and that what has been told was told quite recently, so recently that the speaker believes the fact is still "fresh".
One could even use this form at a cocktail party or reception or other occasion that involves chit-chat, after being introduced to someone who tells you about themselves and a little about their spouse or significant other, for example. When that person later joins the conversation you might say:
Richard tells me you're a doctor.
But it doesn't have to be that recent:
The curator tells me the brooch I found when digging in my garden is from the 8th century.
The conversation being referred to might have taken place a year ago or more.
Time-wise it is similar to:
I have had this pain in my knee ever since I stepped into that pothole near the curb in the Main Street crosswalk and wrenched it.
--Really? That was over a year ago. What do the doctors say?
What is the opinion of the doctors? Presumably they have been consulted in this matter, and presumably their opinion has not changed.