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Press Release

Man Pleads Guilty to Defrauding Woman of $377,000

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Virginia

NORFOLK, Va. – A Winchester man pleaded guilty today to defrauding a woman of approximately $377,000 based on false statements that included a fraudulent inducement of marriage.

According to the statement of facts filed with the plea agreement, Harry Randall Withers, Jr., 38, made a series of false representations to a woman to induce her to lend him approximately $377,000. Withers told the woman 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. Wither also 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 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, the woman 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 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. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; and George D. Purefoy, Resident Agent in Charge of the U.S. Secret Service’s Norfolk Resident Office, made the announcement after U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert J. Krask accepted the plea. Assistant U.S. Attorney Alan M. Salsbury is prosecuting the case.


A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information is located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 2:16-cr-166.


Joshua Stueve
Director of Communications

Updated June 27, 2017

Financial Fraud