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October 2008

10/5/2008

Fake Restaurant

As you know, in addition to the website, we run an elegant fake restaurant. Here's another, setup to punk wine magazines for handing out awards to anyone who pays the fee. Pretty funny.

-CJ


10/23/2008

New York Times

Here's a new find, an article from the Times about Jackie French's arrest a few days after the big bust.

New York Times, August 27, 1922

ARREST THIRTY-FIVE; CHARGE BIG SWINDLE
'Million Dollar Confidence Ring' Is Believed Broken by Captures at Denver.
REPORT TOURISTS VICTIMS
Operations at Miami and Atlanta Are Said to Have Netted $1,500,000.
DENVER, Col., Aug. 26.—Harry D. White, said to be wanted by Federal Post Office Inspector H. E. Graham on a charge of swindling S. Tuch of Plainfield N. J., of $60,000 at Miami, Fla., on March 17, 1921, was arrested late today by agents of the Denver District Attorney's office, who have been conducting raids on an alleged "million dollar confidence ring."
White, according to District Attorney Van Cise, has also been known under the names of Sam Bennett, Harry Witting, H. Lafler and Harry Whitney. He was arrested when he attempted to cash a $100 money order said to have been sent to him by another alleged swindler whose activities local authorities have been investigating.
Homer French, said by local authorities to have served a sentence in the Federal Penitentiary at Atlanta, Ga., and to be known in New York and Atlantic City, was arrested last night at Estes Park, Col. Thirty-three alleged members of the confidence ring had previously been arrested here.
None of the men arrested have been able to furnish $25,000 bond, the amount fixed by the Court, with the exception of Lou Blonger and W. Duff, who were released yesterday. Judge Haggott today refused a petition for a reduction in the amount of the bond.
District Attorney Van Cise, who brought French to Denver today, charges that he was involved in the "confidence game" at Miami, Fla. A tip that French was in Estes Park was received yesterday at the District Attorneys office and he was traced last night with the aid of State rangers, Mr. Van Cise stated.
The District Attorney stated today that French had admitted that there is an indictment against him in Florida in connection with an alleged fake promotion scheme in Miami.
Twenty-nine of the men arrested here yesterday pleaded not guilty to a charge of "conspiracy to operate a confidence game," when arraigned before Judge Haggott in the criminal division of the District Court today. Authorities explained that the other four men were not arraigned because their correct names were not known.
Believe They Are Wanted in Atlanta.
ATLANT, Ga., Aug. 26.—Following receipt here of information reporting the arrest at Denver, Col., of thirty-three alleged "bunco men" who are said to have fleeced tourists of $1,500,000, a representative of John A. Boykin, Solicitor General of Fulton County, was en route to Denver today with photographs and descriptions of thirty-five men wanted here for "bunco" operations in 1920.
Atlanta authorities have expressed confidence that some of the men wanted here were among those arrested in Denver. Floyd Woodward, a leader in the Atlanta gang, and nearly a score of men under indictment by the County Grand Jury are still at large.
MIAMI, Fla., Aug. 26.—Homer French was indicted here with two others by the Grand Jury last May for the allegedswindling of $120,000 last winter from Peter Nicholson, Middle Western banker and mine operator, and bond in the sum of $50,000 was fixed for each of the defendants in the event of the arrest.
Nicholson came here personally to present his complaint to the Grand Jury, and the authorities believe that his home is near Cleveland, Ohio. The alleged swindle took place at a clubhouse here which the authorities never were able to locate.
A secret indictment was returned which was not made public until nearly three weeks later, when State Attorney Grambling told the Court he had reason to believe that the defendants knew the indictment had been handed down. The others indicted with French were Walter Madden, alias George Falo, alias George Falatico, and Ed Harly, alias Walter Hayes.

-CJ


10/24/2008

Time Magazine

On the site ElderHostel.org, we see that the Institute for Retired Professionals, New School University, New York, has a class called "GRIFTERS, GRAFTERS, AND CONFIDENCE MEN."

There are literary and real-life tricksters everywhere, but American life and literature are particularly rich with tales of charming con men and women. Great fiction writers, biographers, and journalists have written about them. What is their special language? What are Ponzi schemes? What was the Blonger Gang? Captain Suggs? We look at Barnum, Gondorf, Prince Romanoff, and other finaglers and discover the secrets of their successes and failures. Discussion is supplemented by student reports, film excerpts, and other materials. Readings include short stories and excerpts from historical texts, novels, and folk tales.
Text: Coursepack.

-CJ


10/25/2008

Google Books

Scott found three more books with some interesting references:

The Protectors, by Harry Jacob Anslinger, J Dennis Gregory, published in 1964, has a section on Andy Koehn, one of the detectives used by Van Cise in the Blonger gang investigation. The authors have Lou growing up in "Canadian saloons, dance halls, and near gaming tables." Although Lou's dad was French Candian, we have no indication he ever even visited Canada, and he certainly didn't grow up there. Lou was born in Vermont and grew up in southern Wisconsin.

SCAMS - and how to protect yourself from them, compiled by Timi Ogunjobi, lifts the text of the Wikipedia article on Lou word for word. As the authors of the article, I guess I'm now a published writer (Scott already has that distinction).

Finally, Matilda Coxe Stevenson, A woman in a man's world among the Pueblos of the Southwest, by Darlis A. Miller. This book mentions only "the Blonger property," sought by Matilda for $200. We'll need to see the book to find out more about Ms. Stevenson, and the location of the property — surely in New Mexico. We'll see if we can determine just which Blonger they meant.

-CJ


October 2008


 

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