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Philanderer has 12 Wives and 24 aliases

New Jersey- New Jersey cops have busted a serial bigamist and con man who is believed to have married at least 12 women, bilking many out of their life savings.

William Michael Barber’s latest wife, a woman in Wharton, N.J., was so despondent after finding about her husband’s love-’em and leave-’em past last week that she was suicidal – and she still can’t believe it’s true, her family said.

“She’s still defending him,” Joyce Reynolds’ brother-in-law, Jerry Stevens, told The Post.

Barber met Reynolds, a divorced mother of two, on the Internet. They tied the knot in 2001, a week after he flew to New Jersey from Missouri to meet her. Relatives said he’d told her he was a pediatric cardiovascular surgeon on sabbatical – but he took a job as a car salesman when he moved into to her Morris County home with his one suitcase.

Stevens said “the family knew he was bad news” – but his new bride didn’t want to hear it.

“She literally disowned everyone in the family, except one sister,” another relative said. “None of us ever believed Michael, but Joyce believed him, hook, line and sinker.”

He started a bail-bonds business at home, and he and Joyce partnered with some ex-lawmen in a company that tracks down and transports fugitives.

The business partners soon became suspicious of Barber as well – especially after he told them he’d been married to Joyce for 39 years. She’s 49 and he’s 53.

Barber’s web of lies crashed last week.

The business partners tracked down Barber’s sister, who called Joyce and told her that her husband was a serial con artist who’d been married several times before and left his wives destitute. Joyce knew about only one of his wives, the last one.

“She confronted him and he started to ‘fess up,” said a relative who asked not be identified.

The law caught up to him the next day, when he was arrested on a minor traffic infraction and cops questioned him about an outstanding warrant for failing to pay $50,000 in child support to an ex-wife in Missouri.

He convinced detectives they had the wrong man – until the ex-wife described a tattoo on his chest, with the name he had used when they were married: “Chris Barber.”

From there, the revelations kept coming:

* He has 24 known aliases and several different Social Security numbers.

* He claims he was a chopper pilot in Vietnam who was shot down and taken prisoner. But he really was a dishonorably discharged Army deserter.

* He’s done prison time in Kansas, California, Texas and Missouri. The charges ranged from bigamy – he has had at least 11 other wives, officials said – to passing bad checks, extortion and grand theft.

* His home was filled with official-looking certificates that are actually phonies, including one that says he’s a demolitions expert and another that says he’s currently a high-ranking Army officer.

He’s currently being held in lieu of $25,000 bail. He is charged with listing a bogus name, birth date and Social Security number on a public document – his and Joyce’s marriage license.

The ex-wife who identified the tattoo applauded the arrest. “The man needs to be stopped from hurting and scamming and stealing from people,” she said.

She said Barber, whom she married in 1986, “wined and dined me and swept me off my feet,” but “quickly started passing bad checks and I had to bail him out of jail.”

She was forced into bankruptcy when he forged her name on a loan.

Joyce Barber, however, was devastated by the arrest. Her relatives said she blames her family for her trouble, and not Barber.

“I really feel bad for her because I think she loved him, but I don’t for one minute think he ever loved her,” the relative said.



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