He told the pretty young widow he was getting a divorce, that he was studying architecture and ship building at USC and that he would buy her a yacht that they could pilot on a love-trip once they were wed. So Mrs. Frances Wells O’Donnell, mother of a 4-year-old boy, who lost her second lieutenant Marine husband in the invasion of Peleliu in ’44, put $46,000 into a joint account. And Richard Barth, 30, took that “joint” business seriously–he picked up a 52-foot sea-going number called The Otter, and spent another $13,000 on a honeymoon cottage in Woodland Hills.
But when Frances wasn’t looking, Richard sold that pad they were to share, remarried his wife, and purchased a home for the two of them at 906 S. Stanley Ave. Frances cried foul when she finally checked the bank book and found $47.50 remaining.
The accused louse surrendered in court today accompanied by his attorney, Sid Kaufman. Bond was set at $3000. Also set into motion was a civil suit on the same matter, originally filed two months ago. Barth denied the charges and insisted his honor would be proven at trial.
Suggested reading: Con Man : A Master Swindlerâ€™s Own Story