US Attorney: Fake doctor pleads guilty in $1.3M romance scam

May 19, 2022 GMT

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — A Florida man has pleaded guilty to defrauding more than 30 women of more than $1.3 million by pretending to be a doctor on online dating services, a U.S. attorney said Thursday.

Brian Brainard Wedgeworth, 46, who formerly lived in the Florida capital city of Tallahassee and in Center Point, Alabama, used 10 different aliases as part of the scheme, U.S. Attorney Jason Cody said in a news release.

“Our citizens should not be preyed upon by fraudsters who steal through overtures of affection,” Cody said.

Wedgeworth made promises to the women to con them into sending him money, jewelry and watches, according to court documents. He pleaded guilty to 25 counts, including wire fraud, mail fraud, aggravated identity theft and money laundering.

The case was investigated by the U.S. Postal Service and the Internal Revenue Service, and authorities said they are searching for any additional victims.

Wedgeworth faces up to 20 years in prison on wire fraud and mail fraud counts, 10 years in prison on money laundering counts and a mandatory two years in prison on identity theft counts that will be consecutive to any other sentence imposed.

He is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 8.