A Florida man was sentenced to nine years once he was convicted of scamming women through online dating websites. Federal prosecutors announced the sentence on Sept. 1. 47-year-old Brian Brainard Wedgeworth pled guilty to twenty-five counts of aggravated identity, theft, wire fraud, mail fraud and money laundering back in May according to the Department of Justice.
He defrauded multiple women between 2016 and 2021 by pretending to be a doctor and soliciting funds and gifts such as watches and jewelry. Wedgeworth made promises to the women in order to procure the gifts and defrauded at least 30 women of more than $1.3 million in total.
“Our citizens should not be preyed upon by fraudsters who steal through overtures of affection,” U.S. Attorney Jason R. Coody said. “With the assistance of our dedicated law enforcement partners, we are committed to investigating and vigorously prosecuting those who engage in all acts of fraud. Moreover, today’s sentence should serve as a significant deterrent to criminals of like mind.”
Wedgeworth used different aliases to defraud the women including “Dr. Brian Anderson,” “Dr. Anthony Watkins,” “Dr. Brian Adams” and “Dr. Edward Chen.” Wedgeworth will have to pay $1,161,325.82 in restitution. He will also have three years of supervised release once he has served his prison term.
The case investigated by the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Postal Service, and authorities are still searching for additional victims according to CBS News. The Acting Inspector In Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in Miami, Juan A. Vargas says that stopping fraudulent schemes such as romance scams remains priority for the division.
“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,” Vargas said. “Our agency will continue to investigate those that target innocent individuals and abuse their trust for financial gain.”