You never really know if someone you meet online is everything they pretend to be and it turns out one Florida man definitely was not. Federal authorities have arrested Brian Brainard Wedgeworth, sometimes referred to as “the Casanova Scammer” for orchestrating a romance scam using online dating sites. Prosecutors allege he was pretending to be a surgeon to meet women online to steal their money and he got away with it for a long time - from October 2016 to March 2021.
Wedgeworth reportedly used many aliases, including Dr. Anthony Watkins, Dr. Brian Adams and Dr. Edward Chen, when meeting victims on dating apps including Bumble, Plenty of Fish and Christian Mingle. According to the Department of Justice, the native of Tallahassee, Florida, defrauded the women he met and tricked them into sending him money and buying him jewelry. He allegedly swindled money from at least 21 people in multiple states including Florida, Texas and California and received more than $750-thousand in money and property as a result of his scam.
The indictment claims the women gave him their banking and credit card information after he promised to help them pay off their debts and he sometimes added himself as an authorized cardholder to their accounts and then increased their limits or got cash advances in their name. He reportedly told the women he didn’t have enough money to keep the lights on at his medical practice because his accounts were frozen because of a malpractice lawsuit. Now he’s facing up to 20 years in prison for wire and mail fraud, up to 10 years for money laundering and a mandatory minimum of two years for aggravated identity theft.