JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Action News Jax is investigating a Florida man dubbed “the Casanova con man.”
He is accused of defrauding the women of almost a million dollars.
RELATED: Jacksonville woman claims she was duped by ‘Casanova scammer’
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 land him in federal prison for decades.
It’s a story about the search for love and lies. Many of them, according to the Department of Justice.
According to federal prosecutors, from October 2016 to March 2021, convicted felon Wedgeworth used all kinds of dating apps and websites to form relationships with at least 21 people in eight states, including Florida and Georgia. Investigators say Wedgeworth earned more than $750,000 in cash and property from his romantic ruse.
According to a 22-page federal indictment, Wedgeworth, who lived in Florida, claimed to be a successful doctor.
This is the story he told Tekesia Johnson, a Jacksonville woman who contacted Tenikka Hughes in June 2017. Johnson died last year, but her daughter gave permission to include her story in this report.
Johnson said Wedgeworth chased her, pretended to pay off her debt and scammed her into buying him expensive watches.
“I met him on May 21 and he said his name was Brian L. Adams, MD,” Johnson said in 2017.
Dr. Brian Adams is one of at least 13 false names investigators say Wedgeworth gave to the women he targeted. The indictment breaks down Wedgeworth’s alleged scheme:
1. He developed 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. It seemed to pay debts electronically, leading to women receiving notifications that payments had been made to their accounts.
4. Wedgeworth would then ask women to give him money, buy him expensive 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 deals had failed many had already spent thousands of bucks!
In 2017, Hughes sat down at Action News Jax’s assignment desk and called the number Johnson had given her for Wedgeworth to confront him about his claim that he was a con artist. Here’s what he had to say.
“These accusations are totally false. I had kind of a sordid history, I admit,” Wedgeworth said.
Hughes found claims against Wedgeworth dating back almost a decade and as late as last March. Georgia report shows woman told Athens-Clarke County police she wired Wedgeworth $8,000 after he appeared to pay $30,000 for her mortgage and $50,000 for his student loans! Police said the case had been turned over to federal authorities.
Getting ripped off isn’t an easy thing to admit, but Johnson bravely came forward years ago, hoping to stop Wedgeworth and protect 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 multiple counts of mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering. If found guilty, he could spend more than 30 years in prison.
The indictment also reveals that a woman researched and confronted Wedgeworth about using a false name, being a convicted felon and media reporting like these calling him a “Casanova crook”.
Investigators say Wedgeworth told him he was working undercover for the federal government and had to go to jail to catch correctional officers who were committing crimes and that the fake name and reports he was scamming women made part of his cover story.
Wedgeworth’s federal trial is scheduled to begin in August in Tallahassee. If you have been in contact with Wedgeworth and would like to speak to investigators, you can email [email protected]
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