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A DARING SWINDLER.

REMARKABLE CAREER OF IMPOS

TURE,

IMPERSONATING CELEBRITIES,

[From Our Special Correspondent.]

London, August 17.

The swindling career (just cut short) of Mr Ernest Norton Rolfe, alias half a dozen other names, bears such a striking resemblance to tho achievements of “Captain” Landeshut, alias Langeshut, of Antipodean fame, that if I were not sure that worthy was shut up in Peutridge I should think he had sought fresh fields and pastures new in the Old Country. ‘ Tho Times ’ says “Ernest Norton Rolfe, who is said to be wanted for the swindle perpetrated some time ago on Mr Chamberlain, was brought up at the Blackpool Police Court yesterday and committed for trial at the Manchester Assizes on a charge of obtaining L2l by means of a forged bill of exchange from John Harling, director of the Blackpool Winter Gardens. The prisoner went to Blackpool and represented himself as Mr Bennett Burleigh, war correspondent, of London, and that ho was in Blackpool to record the doings of that part of the Channel Squadron which was expected off Fleetwood, lie presented a letter of introduction purporting to be signed by Mr G. A. Sala, and was well received, obtaining L2I by tho fraud. Mr Sala informed the Justices that the writing was not his, and Mr James Macintyre (of the ‘Daily Telegraph’) said Mr Burleigh was on Her Majesty’s ship Howe, and would not be back for a fortnight. The initials on the cheque were not in Mr Burleigh’s handwriting. The antecedents of the prisoner, as stated by Superintendent Dereham, of tho Blackpool force, showed an extraordinary career of crime, Tho prisoner is said to be wanted in New York and on the Continent. He commenced proceedings at Birmingham, where, on December, 14, 1888, he presented himself at Highbury, the residence of Mr J. Chamberlain, M.P., under the name of Ritchie, and presenting a letter of introduction from Mr Erasmus Wyman, a gentleman living in the United States, whose acquaintance Mr Chamberlain.bad made during his visit in connection the fisheries question, he was received by Mr Austen Chamberlain, who readily acceded to the request to be showed over the orchid houses. At tho conclusion of his inspection he suddenly remembered that he had lost his purse, from which he would suffer great inconvenience, as ho was going to change his hotel that night, and as there was no time to go to the bank, asked Mr Austen Chamberlain to lend him a little money to tide over the difficulty. Mr Chamberlain did so, and the stranger departed. Next day he again called at Highbury, and asked Mr.Chamberlain to introduce him to a Birmingham bank, as he wished to cash a bill on the American banking firm of Driscoll, Morgan, and Company. Mr Chamberlain gave him an introduction to a local bank, where a bill for 250 dollars was cashed. With the money thus obtained the loan advanced was paid. After a time the bill was returned to the drawer. Oa leaving Birmingham ‘Mr Ritchie,’ it seems, went to the firm of orchid collectors, Saunders and Co., St. Albans, where he represented himself as Mr Austen Chamberlain. He then ordered a small parcel of orchids, which he paid for with another American bill, getting change for his own use. The fraud was discovered when Mr Saunders wrote to Mr Joseph Chamberlain, thanking him for the introduction. About this time also he appeared with a letter of introduction from Mr Henry Irving (presumably forged). No money was obtained by this particular dodge. The next that is knowm of him is from Ballymena, in Ireland, where, as Major Rhodes, of the Royal Dragoons, he entered into negotiations with Mr Nathaniel Morton, of Belfast, for the purchase of five horses for L 470. He tendered a military draft for L 525, and received tho change, L 55. The draft was returned marked I no account.’ He is also wanted by the Metropolitan police for obtaining by similar means L3O under the pretence that he was Captain Rexford, master of Lord Dorchester’s yacht, the Aphrodite. In March last he obtained from a boat-builder at New Shoreham, Sussex, the sum of L2O in the name of Eric Hartig. He turned up at Greenock and called on Mr Thomas, boat-builder, and represented himself as Captain Rathburn, the master of Lord Brassey’s steam yacht Sunbeam, and said that he had been sent to get a steam launch. He presented a cheque on the Capital and Counties Bank Lt Hastings for LUO. He said ho was short of cash to pay his crew, and that he required L3O of the cheque for that purpose, and on the faith of Mr Orr’s acceptance the cheque was cashed at a bank in Greenock, the prisoner getting the L3O. The cheque was sent on to Hastings, and there declared by Lord Brassey to be a forgery. In June, as Mr Bennett Burleigh, he obtained from Mr Morgan, of the ‘ Aborystwith Observer,’ L 7 on a forged cheque. On June 29 he came to Blackpool and presented himself as Mr Bennett Burleigh to Mr Holland, giving him a letter of introduction purporting to be signed ‘ George Augustus Sala,’ and a visiting card, on which was the name Bennett Burleigh. By means of an introduction from Mr Holland he was successful in defrauding Mr Harling of L2l, and then absconding. After this he was next heard of at Douglas, Isle of Man, on July 14, where he obtained a sum of money from Mr Buckland, of the Central Hotel, under tho name of Mr Allan Leslie. His final appearance was at Boston, Lincolnshire, where he presented himself at Swineshcad Abbey, the residence of Mr G. F. Young, agent for Mr Ingram, who is part proprietor of the ‘ Illustrated London News.’ Here he represented himself to bo Mr Melton Prior, chief artist on tho journal mentioned. Mr Young being absent from home, the impostor introduced himself to tho lady of the house, but with all his skill, coupled with representations that ho was in need of money, his attempts wore futile. ‘Mr Melton Prior ’ had not been gone long before Mr Young returned, and, on hearing of the visit, he suspected some imposture and gave information to the police of Boston. They at once compared the description given with that supplied by the Blackpool police of ‘Mr Bennett Burleigh,’ and concluded that the two were identical. They immediately made a tour of the hotels in Boston and found Ernest Norton Rolfe in the act of obtaining cash for a fictitious draft at sight for L2l, drawn in favor of Ernest Neville Rolfe, R.N., C.8., on Sir Gerald Fitzgerald, of Spring Gardens, London.”

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD18891005.2.30.5

Bibliographic details

A DARING SWINDLER., Issue 8030, 5 October 1889, Supplement

Word Count
1,116

A DARING SWINDLER. Issue 8030, 5 October 1889, Supplement

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