On Friday, a man in Santa Monica pled guilty to a federal fraud charge for a romance scam in which he tricked women into investing tens of thousands of dollars into fake companies.
Antonio Mariot Wilson (also known as Dr. Tony Mariot and Brice Carrington) agreed to plead guilty to one count of wire fraud after acquiring a whopping a cumulative from victims of his scam. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles, he previously served a four-year term in federal prison for wire fraud and tax evasion after pleading guilty back in 2009.
Wilson met four women on datings apps between May 2015 and October 2018, later convincing them to engage in romantic relationships with him. Once he sunk his teeth in, he proceeded to con them all out of a cumulative $387,000. Among the women was 63-year-old Black-ish star Jenifer Lewis, who he met at a gym where he worked as a manager.
Wilson used the money he acquired from these women to fund his own lifestyle and pay off credit card debt, rent, and buy luxury items. This all went down while hiding the fact that he had previously pled guilty for a very similar scheme, according to officials.
The scam artist relied on false claims–telling women he was a Navy SEAL, an Oxford University graduate and a UCLA professor–to get them to invest in his two sham companies: Ultimate FX, which he said was a sound design company, and 2nd Life, which he claimed was a software business for providing animated instructions to apply for government benefits.
He also claimed that ABC television network (which, ironically, airs Black-ish) and EA Sports video game developer used Ultimate FX for their shows and games, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Wilson even went as far as using the identities of real people without their consent, claiming they were investors who had valued 2nd Life at a whopping $30 million.
Now, Wilson is facing a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison. A date for his hearing has not yet been set.