DUPED WOMEN FURIOUS
from the New York Daily News
By JEANE MacINTOSH
A notorious bigamist — pegged by New Jersey authorities as a lifelong scammer who's likely to strike again — is slated to be sprung from a Garden State prison just months into a three-year sentence, The Post has learned.
"I was told he'll be moved to a halfway house in March," said Diana Barber, one of at least four women who were duped into marrying the convicted con, William Michael Barber.
"I just don't understand how it could happen."
Neither can the silver-haired schemer's latest wife and victim, Joyce Reynolds, who was alerted to the planned move in a Jan. 14 e-mail from Diana.
"It's outrageous," Reynolds said. "I am angry, I'm frightened, I'm stunned."
A spokeswoman for the New Jersey Department of Corrections could not confirm any planned move.
Reynolds — who estimates Barber, 53, bilked her out of more than $60,000 — helped put her shady ex behind bars after he was busted in June in Wharton, N.J., on a slew of criminal fraud charges, including falsifying his marriage license to her.
"I was lied to by Michael, and then I put my faith in the judicial system, and look what's happened," said Reynolds, who was part of negotiations for the guilty plea Barber copped in September.
"I feel like I've been duped all over again."
Barber — who has 19 aliases and a 35-year, six-state criminal history that includes two prison stints and a bigamy conviction — pleaded guilty to filing a false marriage license.
In return, New Jersey prosecutors dropped a dozen other criminal charges. Barber was sentenced in October to three years in prison.
"I was led to believe, during the negotiations, that he'd spend at least 18 months in jail," Reynolds said of her ex, who, records show, is now in minimum security at Bayside State Prison in south Jersey and is eligible for parole April 21.
"If they let him out to a halfway house in March, he'll be allowed to get a job, he'll have access to a computer," she said. "Within a week, he'll have a plan to con someone else — if he doesn't already."
Diana Barber — who is owed $50,000 in child support from the con — said she was told of the planned move by her Missouri child-support caseworker in mid-January.
"She was informed by New Jersey officials and told me," Diana said.
A Corrections spokeswoman said she could not confirm Diana's information but said there is "nothing" in Barber's file that suggests an imminent move.
However, another spokesman said that given Barber's approaching parole-eligibility date, the information given to Diana Barber might be valid.
After his latest arrest, it emerged that Barber had served a six-year sentence in a Missouri prison for passing bad checks and did time at Leavenworth, Kansas, for desertion from the Army.
Reynolds, who has been in contact with Barber's other victimized wives, said they're all convinced Barber will "vanish" if he's released to a halfway house.
"Let's face it, he was a deserter from the Army — to walk away from a halfway house, for him, that's nothing," Reynolds said.
At Barber's New Jersey sentencing, Assistant Morris County Prosecutor Joseph D'Onofrio said, "There's a saying, 'You can't teach an old dog new tricks.' Mr. Barber has committed these tricks his whole life. When he gets out, he'll probably go back to the same thing."
Meanwhile, Reynolds has a restraining order against the con, but puts little faith in the piece of paper.
"I'm frightened of him, and scared for my family," she said. "There's no telling how angry he might be.
"And it won't be hard for him to find me — that's what he does."