Man sentenced for fraud claimed connection to Camp family

Published 1:03 pm Saturday, October 14, 2017

A former Suffolk man was sentenced on Friday to nearly six years in prison for defrauding a Suffolk woman of approximately $377,000 based on false statements that included a fraudulent inducement of marriage.  Harry Randall Withers Jr., 38, pleaded guilty on June 27 to wire fraud and engaging in monetary transactions in criminally derived property.

According to court documents, Withers made a series of false representations to a woman — identified in other court documents as Ruth Baker — to induce her to lend him approximately $377,000. He told her 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.

Withers also told Baker 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.

Further, Withers once claimed to have “euthanized” his mother to end her suffering from a severe illness. He reportedly told Baker needed money to prevent an autopsy because family members were suspicious. In fact, his mother was neither dead nor even sick.

He made the further false representation that 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.

In reliance on these misrepresentations, Baker married Withers and lent him the money, which he used for his own benefit with no intention of repaying her. Withers wrote a series of checks that purported to be in partial repayment of the money she had lent him, but they were written on funds that had insufficient funds or were closed. He also forged Baker’s signature on checks written on her account that he made payable to himself.

Details from The Suffolk News-Herald contributed to this article.