TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A Florida man pleaded guilty to scamming women out of over $1.3 million in money and property in an online dating plot, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
DOJ officials said Brian Brainard Wedgeworth, also known under various aliases such as “Dr. Brian Anderson” or “Dr. Anthony Watkins,” would meet the women in online forums while pretending to be a physician.
Wedgeworth would then have these women send him money and buy him jewelry and watches while making false promises to them, according to court documents. The scheme took place between October 2016 and March 2021.
Officials said the scheme net over $1.3 million in gifts from over 30 women.
“Our citizens should not be preyed upon by fraudsters who steal through overtures of affection,” U.S. Attorney 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.”
Wedgeworth’s sentencing was scheduled for Aug. 8, 2022, at 10:00 a.m., at the United States Courthouse in Tallahassee.
The DOJ said Wedgeworth “faces up to 20 years in prison on wire fraud and mail fraud counts, up to 10 years in prison on the money laundering counts, and a minimum mandatory sentence of 2 years in prison, consecutive to any other imprisonment that is imposed, for the aggravated identity theft count.”