Wednesday, June 22 2022

A Florida Man posing as a surgeon pleaded guilty to a wire fraud and aggravated identity theft after he stole more than $1.3 million from more than 30 women he met on online dating sites.

Brian Wedgeworth – who used a variety of aliases, 14 in total – pleaded guilty to 25 counts relating to the years-long romantic fraud schemes in which he would pose as a doctor at prestigious universities and hospitals to “develop romantic relationships with [women] and gain their trust. according to the Department of Justice. The man had cheated on at least 30 women in eight states, including Florida, California, Texas, Maryland, Louisiana, Georgia and Alabama.

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“Our citizens should not fall prey to fraudsters who steal through overtures of affection,” said US Attorney Jason Coody. “With the help of our dedicated law enforcement partners, we are committed to vigorously investigating and prosecuting those who engage in all acts of fraud.”

Wedgeworth used photographs of himself impersonating a doctor to connect with women online and brag about his success at facilities including Johns Hopkins University, Harvard Medical Center and the University of Pennsylvania. , although there is no work history. He would then assure the women that he could pay off their debt and loan repayments because he didn’t want them to struggle with their finances, offering to take care of it himself.

As part of his scheme, he would persuade women to give him their banking login information along with their full names, dates of birth and Social Security numbers, according to court documents.

With the bank account information, Wedgeworth would add himself as an authorized user to increase his credit limits and obtain cash advances, according to court documents. He would then use this money to buy expensive jewelry and tickets to sports matches.

Wedgeworth would then send electronic payments to the women’s credit card companies, mortgage lenders and other debt collectors using an account previously closed due to insufficient funds. However, because the debts were paid electronically, the women received a notification that the payment had been processed before being told later that they were not approved.

The man would then use these bogus payments as leverage to convince the women to pay him back, telling them that his bank account had been frozen after he paid off their debts and convincing them that he needed the money to pay off a lawsuit for medical malpractice, according to documents. Wedgeworth would ask women to withdraw money from their accounts to send or write a check to him.

If they didn’t have enough money to pay him, he would convince them to take out additional loans to give him the funds, according to the DOJ. In some cases, he convinced women to buy expensive jewelry from him, saying he would pay them back. He never did.

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A woman confronted him about using a false name, linking him to crimes he committed in Georgia where he was dubbed the ‘Casanova Scammer’ for committing romantic fraud schemes, according to documents. However, he told her that he was an undercover officer who was ordered to be arrested so he could observe correctional officers committing misconduct inside prisons. The aforementioned character was part of that backstory, he said.

Wedgeworth admitted to the fraud schemes Thursday and pleaded guilty to 25 counts. He is expected to be sentenced in court on August 8 and faces up to 20 years in prison for wire fraud and mail fraud, up to 10 years for money laundering and at least two years for aggravated identity theft.


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