A Florida man, who posed as a doctor and swindled over $1.3 million from more than 30 women he met on dating sites, has been sentenced to nine years in federal prison, the Department of Justice announced on Thursday.
As previously reported by Face2Face Africa, Brian Brainard Wedgeworth went by multiple aliases on the dating sites, and his modus operandi involved tricking women to believe he was a single surgeon who was ready to settle down.
Federal prosecutors in Tallahassee said Wedgeworth was a serial dating scammer who browsed several sites in search of his victims. He is also said to have started scamming more than 10 years ago. And he swindled his victims out of cash, luxury items, and checks. He even managed to get a 2018 Sugar Bowl ticket from one of his victims.
Court documents also stated that the convicted man made assurances to his victims and offered to cover their debts, Insider reported.
One of his victims, Tenasia Johnson, told investigators that Wedgeworth’s online profile described him as a thoracic surgeon by the name of Brian Adams. Wedgeworth allegedly erased Johnson’s doubts about him after he offered to cover her mortgage to allow them to start building a financial future as a couple, the Miami Herald reported.
Upon gaining her trust, Wedgeworth managed to convince Johnson to buy him a luxury watch. The fake doctor told Johnson he wanted her to make the purchase so she could begin the process of having her credit stabilized.
But after buying the watch, Johnson shortly realized Wedgeworth had scammed her after the payment he made for her mortgage did not clear as a result of inadequate funds. Johnson also realized several other women had fallen victim to Wedgeworth after she investigated him.
Johnson was, however, unsuccessful in having the money she spent on Wedgeworth returned. The accused man was indicted a month after Johnson died in 2021. Authorities arrested the convicted man at the residence of one of the women he was swindling. Wedgeworth had moved into his victim’s home at the time.
“Our citizens should not be preyed upon by fraudsters who steal through overtures of affection,” U.S. Attorney Coody said.
Wedgeworth’s conviction came after he pleaded guilty to 25 counts of wire fraud, mail fraud, aggravated identity theft, and money laundering, prosecutors said.
“Rooting out fraudulent schemes furthered by the U.S. Mail, such as romance scams, remains a top priority for the U.S. Postal Inspection Service,” Juan A. Vargas, who is a lead postal inspector, said.