Many people dream of marrying a doctor – just make sure they have an actual degree.
Federal prosecutors have arrested 46-year-old Brian Wedgeworth on charges of wire fraud, mail fraud, aggravated identity theft and money laundering. They allege he posed as a surgeon while meeting women on various dating websites. He then promised to help pay off their debts, but instead took their money for himself.
Living a Lie
Prosecutors say the former Tallahassee resident used 13 different aliases between 2016 and 2021 to con women out of their money on websites such as Match, Plenty of Fish, Chrisitan Mingle, Hinge and Bumble.
According to the indictment released by the Northern District of Florida U.S. Attorney’s Office, “Wedgeworth made promises to the women in order to induce them to send him money and buy him jewelry and watches. Wedgeworth is alleged to have fraudulently obtained more than $750,000 in funds and property as a result of his scheme.”
When he met these women online, he would try to build trust by offering to help them pay off their debts. The indictment says he would often trick women into giving out their personal financial information, including account numbers, passwords, and login info.
Authorities said he would usually send electronic payments to the women using bank accounts with insufficient funds or those that were previously closed.
“By making these electronic payments, Brian Wedgeworth caused these women to receive notifications from their lenders and creditors that payments were made on their debts and their debts were paid in full, when in fact they had not been paid in full,” the indictment says.
Just as the loan payment was supposed to post to their account, Wedgeworth would often tell the women lies to get them to send him money or gifts. For example, he told women that he didn’t have enough money to pay for his fictitious medical practice’s expenses. He also claimed that his bank accounts were frozen because of a medical malpractice lawsuit.
One of his victims, Tekesia Johnson, said Wedgeworth convinced her to buy him $3,000 worth of watches back in 2017.
“I met him on May 21 and he said his name was Brian L. Adams M.D.,” Johnson said. Soon into their courtship, she said Wedgeworth started talking about wanting a wife to take care of. That’s when he offered to help pay off her debts.
“I said, ‘I need to see your ID, I need to see your bank statement with your name and your address on there so I know that this account I’m using actually belongs to you and he was like, ‘Somebody must’ve did a job on you because you’re so not trusting,’” Johnson said.
He started making payments to help Johnson pay off her debt, including taking $25,000 off her mortgage.
Soon after, he asked her to finance a watch for him that he would pay off to help boost her credit score.
As she became suspicious of her new beau, her fears were confirmed when her bank called her and told her that the payments to her mortgage never went through. She started researching him online only to find a copy of his mugshot.
Her experiences ultimately helped the authorities bring Wedgeworth to justice.
“I’m happy to know that I have helped other women not to experience the things that I went through,” she said.
In 2018, Tallahassee police issued a warning to local women, letting them know that Wedgeworth was in the area and was targeting women.
Dawn Arroyo saw Wedgeworth’s profile on Bumble in Virginia a year later. After seeing the warning, she confronted him online.
“I sent him a screenshot of his mug shot, and I said, ‘This looks like you, too,’ and then he disappeared,” she said.
He was arrested in Tennessee after leaving the Tallahassee area. He made his first appearance in federal court in Nashville, where he will be held temporarily until his detention hearing and arraignment date are held in Florida.
Prosecutors say Wedgeworth could face up to 20 years in prison for the wire fraud and mail fraud counts, up to 10 years in prison for the money laundering counts, and a minimum mandatory sentence of two years in prison for the aggravated identity theft count.
Authorities believe he may have stolen from other women as well. They are still looking for more of his potential victims. The indictment lists his former aliases, including:
- Dr. Brian Anderson
- Dr. Anthony Watkins
- Dr. Brian Adams
- Dr. Edward Chen
- Dr. Brian Chris
- Dr. Chris Williamson
- Dr. Brian Christopher Williamson
- Dr. Brian Edmonds
- Dr. Brian Ammerson
- Dr. Brian Lamar Wilson
- Dr. Brian Wilson
- Dr. Brian Mims
He’s become known as the “Casanova scammer”. Anyone that has been in contact with him or any of his aliases should contact the United State Postal Inspection Service via email at Casanovascammer@uspis.gov.