Virginia man pleads guilty to marrying woman, conning her out of $377K

NORFOLK, Va. – A Winchester man pleaded guilty Tuesday to conning a woman of about $377,000 based on false statements that included a a fake marriage.

Court documents said 38-year-old Harry Randall Withers, Jr., made false representations to a woman to convince her to lend him about $377,000.

Withers told the victim he was the owner of a wine and cheese bar and that his employees had embezzled from him, when in fact he was the manager of the bar and had embezzled from the actual owner.

Court documents also said Wither told the woman he was a member of an affluent family that had founded Union Camp Corporation, a pulp and paper company that was later acquired by International Paper; that his grandmother had died and left him a large inheritance that he would use to repay a loan; and that the IRS had frozen his bank accounts.

He also said if they were married, it would solve tax and legal issues that were preventing him from accessing his money and that he would then be able to repay her.

The woman married Withers and lent him the money, which he used for his own benefit with no intention of repaying her, court documents said.

Withers wrote a series of checks that he pretended to be in partial repayment of the money the woman had lent him, but they were written on funds that had insufficient funds or were closed.

He also forged the woman’s signature on checks written on her account that he made payable to himself.

Withers pleaded guilty to wire fraud and engaging in monetary transactions in criminally derived property.

He faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison when sentenced on October 13.