Brian Wedgeworth, 46, better known as the ‘Casanova Scammer,’ swindled women he found on dating websites out of hundreds of thousands of dollars over a five-year period. But the scams have come to an end, as Wedgeworth is expected to plead guilty to fraud this week in Tallahassee.
If the ‘Casanova Scammer’ is convicted, he could receive up to 20 years in federal prison for mail fraud and wire fraud, as well as another decade for money laundering. Federal prosecutors think he may have scammed 20 women in eight states for at least $750,000 over several years.
It isn’t known if Wedgeworth will be able to reimburse any of the women he scammed. But the judge may order restitution.
Wedgeworth Has No Home, Lives With Women He Scams
Federal prosecutors say Wedgeworth’s ex-wife also lives in Tallahassee, but the scammer doesn’t have his own home. She told the court recently that when Wedgeworth isn’t in prison, he usually lives with his female fraud victims.
The judge noted that Wedgeworth is so dishonest that they could not trust him to remain free from the time he was arrested until the trial.
The women that are being represented in the federal indictment mostly were not identified by name except for Tekesiia Johnson, who also lives in Florida. Johnson told prosecutors that Wedgeworth, born in Alabama, made them think he was a rich surgeon who wanted to settle down and have a family.
It’s common for romantic scammers to use online dating platforms. They pretend to be romantically interested in the person to earn their trust and then obtain access to their money. Romantic fraud is a growing industry; the FBI reports romance scams cause $1 billion in losses every year.
How ‘Casanova Scammer’ Lured Johnson
In 2017, Johnson opened an online dating profile on the website Plenty of Fish. The site is known to be reputable and doesn’t cost anything for women to use. She started to message a man who called himself Brian Adams in May 2017, who was actually Wedgeworth.
The scammer claimed he was a thoracic surgeon and seemed educated, cautious, and passionate. He asked her to do a FaceTime with him to confirm her identity, which made Johnson feel safe.
However, when they continued to message each other, Wedgeworth asked about her income and financial status, which alerted Johnson that something might not be right.
Johnson told the con artist that she was broke but that didn’t make him lose interest. He said he was searching for a woman to settle down with and wed. Wedgeworth also said it was important that his future wife needs to be financially stable, so he offered to help pay off her debts.
Days later, he sent her $20,000 to pay down her mortgage. Johnson was 46 at the time, a single mother with two children, so she gave the scammer a chance, although she wondered about someone giving a near stranger that much money.
But then, the con man asked Johnson for a favor. He asked that she put money into two bank accounts in exchange for him giving her $20,000 for her mortgage. Also, he asked her to finance a Rolex watch for him so she could build her credit. Wedgeworth made this look like another act of his generosity.
Johnson didn’t want to finance something as expensive as a Rolex, so she bought him two watches for $3,000. Next, Wedgeworth met her at a mall in Jacksonville to pick up the watches.
The next day, Johnson heard from her bank that his attempts to pay her bills had bounced. That’s when she did a Google search on him and learned he was the Casanova Scammer.
Wedgeworth already had been jailed in Georgia for fraud in 2014, about three years before he met Johnson. He pleaded guilty to ID fraud, forgery, and driving without a license.
The scammed woman blamed herself. While the fraudulent payments were stopped, Johnson lost the $3,000.
After the scam, Johnson began to appear in Jacksonville media to warn other women about Wedgeworth.
Unfortunately, he found other victims to scam.
The History Of The ‘Casanova Scammer’
According to media reports, Wedgeworth has used at least 13 aliases over the years, including Brian Mims, Brian Adams, Brian Edmonds, and Brian Ammerson. He usually claimed he was a doctor and worked at one of several hospitals.
It’s estimated that his financial scams have happened on 10 dating platforms. Also, Wedgeworth has ripped off nine banks with phony checks and wire transfers.
Federal prosecutors add that Wedgeworth would try to gain a woman’s trust by verifying their identity on FaceTime and then meeting in person. Next, he would offer to pay down some of their debts and would even send phony digital presentations to try to make himself look like a doctor.
The federal indictment states that he defrauded women between October 2016 and March 2021. Criminal reports from a dozen law enforcement agencies across the southeast US show he started scamming people 20 years ago.
Seven women have filed complaints against him over the years.
Wedgeworth has defrauded these and other women out of money, luxury items such as Rolex watches, and even a Sugar Bowl ticket in 2018.
Case reports in Alabama show there have been 46 charges against him and he pleaded guilty to 13. But despite all the charges and convictions, he never did serious time. But that run looks like it will come to an end with the scammer pleading guilty to a federal fraud charge.