JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Action News Jax Investigates a Florida man dubbed the “Casanova scammer.”
He’s accused of conning women out of nearly $1 million.
Action News Jax Anchor Tenikka Hughes first told you about Brian Wedgeworth in 2017.
She’ll show you the case against Wedgeworth and the alleged scheme that could put him in federal prison for decades.
This is a story about the quest for love and lies. Lots of them, according to the Department of Justice.
Federal prosecutors say from October 2016 to March 2021, convicted felon Wedgeworth used all kinds of dating apps and websites to build relationships with at least 21 people in eight states including Florida and Georgia. Investigators say Wedgeworth scored more than $750,000 in money and property from his romantic ruse.
According to a 22-page federal indictment, Wedgeworth, who has lived in Florida, pretended to be a successful doctor.
That’s the story he gave Tekesia Johnson, a Jacksonville woman who reached out to Tenikka Hughes in June of 2017. Johnson passed away last year, but her daughter gave permission to include her story in this report.
Johnson said Wedgeworth pursued her, pretended to pay off her debt and conned her into buying him expensive watches.
“I met him on May 21 and he said his name was Brian L. Adams, M.D.,” Johnson said in 2017.
Dr. Brian Adams is one of at least 13 fake names investigators say Wedgeworth gave to the women he targeted. The indictment breaks downs Wedgeworth’s alleged scheme:
1. He would develop relationships with women he met online, gaining their trust. He even told Johnson in a 2017 text, “I’m really looking for my wife.”
2. Wedgeworth offered to pay off massive debts like mortgages and student loans for them -- while getting their banking, loan and personal information.
3. He appeared to pay the debts electronically, causing the women to get notifications that payments were made on their accounts.
4. Wedgeworth would then ask the women to give him money, buy him pricey gifts or he would make fraudulent charges or cash advances on the women’s’ accounts. And he had expensive tastes, buying multiple Rolex watches and tickets to the 2018 Sugar Bowl with Clemson and Alabama.
5. Here’s the catch though: Prosecutors say Wedgeworth paid the women’s’ debts using closed accounts with insufficient funds and by the time they learned his transactions didn’t go through, many were already out thousands of dollars!
Back in 2017, Hughes sat at the Action News Jax assignment desk and called the number Johnson gave her for Wedgeworth to confront him about her claim that he was a scammer. Here’s what he had to say.
“Those accusations are totally false. I have had sort of a sordid history, I will admit that,” Wedgeworth said.
Hughes found claims against Wedgeworth dating back nearly a decade and as recently as last March. A report out of Georgia shows a woman told Athens-Clarke county police she wired Wedgeworth $8,000 after he appeared to pay $30,000 towards her mortgage and $50,000 on her student loans! Police said the case was turned over to the feds.
Being scammed is not any easy thing to admit, but Johnson courageously came forward years ago, in hopes of stopping Wedgeworth and protecting other women.
“My goal is to get him locked up and he needs to stay there,” Johnson said in 2017.
The justice Johnson sought nearly five years ago may be on the horizon. Wedgeworth is now charged with several counts of mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering. If convicted he could spend more than 30 years in prison.
The indictment also reveals one woman did some digging and confronted Wedgeworth about using a fake name, being a convicted felon and the media reports like these calling him a “Casanova scammer.”
Investigators say Wedgeworth told her he was working undercover for the federal government and had to go to prison to catch correctional officers who were committing crimes and that the fake name and the reports about him scamming women were a part of his cover story.
Wedgeworth’s federal trial is set to start in August in Tallahassee. If you had contact with Wedgeworth and want to talk to investigators, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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