His Brotherly Bluff Was Called
(From "N.Z. Truth's" Special Chriatchurch Rep.) As a debt collector, John Ronald Stevens, of Christchurch, would have been a go-getter of the first water so far as initiative and originality m raking m the cash are concerned, but when he turned collector for himself he fractured the law badly and now awaits the last word on the subject from a Supreme "Court judge.
AWAY down m the wilds of Southland there is a chunk of land known as the Forest Hill Hundred, the affairs of which are handled by the Native Trust Department m Wellington. From the timber taken off the reserve royalties are paid and three brothers are beneficiaries — Robert George Stevens, John Ronald Stevens and William Dallas Stevens. Getting rich quickly at the expense of his brothers was John Ronald's little scheme and it went off, very well until he was found out.
Being hard up and annoyed because, as he claimed, his brothers owed him money, he concocted a nice little scheme that was to enrich him with a little easy cash. That w.as how the Trust Office m Wellington came to receive a letter from Christchurch bearing the signature purporting to be that of "R. G. Stevens." It was a most businesslike missive and asked for a statement of royalties. But the Truat Department was not falling for this too easily and put forward a little request for particulars by way of proof of bona-fldes. Back by the next mail came the proof; the whole family history and genealogjcal tree of the Stevens family.
The office was satisfied and sent the statement. Next was sent the royalties voucher and m due course the receipt came back signed m the name of "R. G. Stevens." PLEADED GUILTY
The next move was the sending- of a telegram signed "R. G. Stevens," m which that gentleman was said to have informed the Trust Office that he had notified William Dallas Stevens m Dunedin about the royalties. This was followed by a claim for "W.D.'s" share of the royalties and m all innocence a voucher was sent down for the money and the receipt came back duly signed.
But it was shortly after this that inquiries were set m train and John Ronald Stevens found himself m trouble.
When interviewed by DetectiveSergeant Young about statements he had made td the police m Auckland and Wellington, the accused admitted that they were correct.
In the statements, Stevens gave his reasons for doing what he had done. .He alleged that his brothers owed him money and he had adopted the method of sending the communications to the department m their names m order to get back some of the cash they owed him. ' He pleaded guilty to the charge of forging the receipts and Avas committed for sentence at the Supreme Court.