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HASTENING TO GET RICH. " Will you undertake to return the postal orders to all the people who have already communicated to the police that they had sent them," asked the Recorder m a case charge of fraud at the Sheffield Quarter Sessions the other day. The undertaking was given, and the prisoners were discharged. The case was what has been known as the " Snowball scheme " case. The accused men were James Barber Savage (29), clerk; Arthur Turner (18), clerk ; and Harold Raine (19), draughtsman, and they pleaded not guilty to obtaining a postal order for ls 6d by false pretences from Albert Hudson, at Sheffield, on February 10, and a postal order for 6d from Frank Cussens, on February 7, with intent to defraud. They were also charged with conspiring to obtain money by false | pretences. Mr Ellison, who prosecuted, outlined j what he called the ingenious procedure by j which these young men purposed making j a living at the expense of the citizens of Sheffield. They were admittedly of good character, and m responsible positions. Early m January they formed themselves into what they called the Sheffield Entertainment Syndicate, and took an office m Exchange Buildings, Sheffield. They had 5,000 copies printed of a certificate which was widely circulated, setting out their system, which was on the well-known " snowball " principle. Briefly, the holder of the certificate was entitled to five freo passes to local places of amusement — football matches, the Empire, Hippodrome, Picture Palace, etc. — conditional upon his getting six other people to send m 6d. for which they m turn obtained certificates to pass on to their friends m similar manner, each holder m turn becoming entitled to five passes upon his securing fix other people to apply for coupons at 6d each. In no case were the six coupons returned, and consequently no passes were sent out by the syndicate. The police found postal orders to a total value of something under £1 on the occasion of their first visit, when one of the defendants said if they were doing wrong they would stop. On subsequent visits eight or ten further orders were found. The contention of ihe defendants that they had the authority of the management of the various places of entertainment to issue passes would be disproved. The defendants had never, m fact, been m negotiation with them. The Recorder : It is a cunningly-devised document, whether it is fraudulent or not. It is a scheme whereby other people are to get their admission by passing on the trick. Do you include these other people? They seem to me to be almost as fraudulent as the concocters of the scheme. Mr Ellison : All they have to do is to pass on these coupons. The Recorder : That is all these defendants did — distribute the certificates. lt is an outrageous scheme, and anybody who knows anything about arithmetic knows that it must result m the last people being landed. It is not one to be encouraged. All that the. defendants had to do was, having received 3s from tlie six holders of coupons, to send 2s 6d to the holder of the certificate who distributed those six coupons — the value of the five 6d admissions promised. These financial agents, or whatever they are, have only to persuade an intermediary, the recipient of a certificate, to do this, and their responsibility is over when they send him his 2s 6d. There is no fraud m that. Mr Ellison : They obtained 6d. The Recorder: They obtained it on a bargain they set out m their circulars. I know it is a scandalous bargain m the Jong run. I can understand anyone who makes a living by tin's means to be a rogue <nd a vagabond, but is it obtaining monov by fraud ? Mr Ellison : It is a very uudoiirable business. Mr Waddy (prisoners' counsel) : Oh, the business is closed. Our total capital was only 18s. These young men were hurry ing to get rich, but they are respectable young men, and, after all, it is not their original idea. The Recorder: That is the danger of it; other people may think they are entiu.l to follow the example. This case, h<iwever, seems to have been a flash ju the pan. and the point is not so nuch i* teach people not to do it. but to teach the public not to be so foolish as to j«.u-t with their money, and doubtless the advertisement this case will get will achieve that end just as effectually as if I sent these young men to prison. Mr Waddy gave the undertaking referred to above— that the postal orders should be returned. The Recorder : I think the jury will be well advised on that undertaking to return l formal verdict of "Not guilty." This was done, and the defendants were accordingly discharged. j

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Bibliographic details

Otautau Standard\u000d\u000aAnd Wallace County Chronicle, Otautau Standard and Wallace County Chronicle, Volume VII, Issue 322, 4 July 1911

Word Count

"A SCANDALOUS BARGAIN." Otautau Standard and Wallace County Chronicle, Volume VII, Issue 322, 4 July 1911