The World's Work, March, 1911, pages 14112-14121:




C.  M.  KEYS
A WOMAN caught a train for New York on the morning of November 22d, at the Broad Street Depot, Philadelphia. She rode in the day coach. Every few minutes, as the train sped on, she consulted the timetable; and whenever the brakeman or conductor passed she hardly ever failed to ask the anxious question, "Are we on time?" She had the air and countenance of one who hurries on desperate business.
    When she reached the city she went straight to the Federal Building, asked a question of the man at the door, and hurried to a designated office. As she entered, she seemed surprised to find dozens of others ahead of her--women, girls, old men, clergymen, and working men in the prime of life. Most of them looked like men and women below the middle class, in point of wealth.
    A uniformed officer passed her at the door. She stopped him, and asked a question. He answered with a shake of the head. She collapsed in a heap on the floor.
    Later on, she told her story. It is not much of a story, but it is merely one out of thousands. In the summer her husband had died, leaving her with little property, but with a life-insurance policy for $4,000. To live in Philadelphia on the proceeds of that was a task, and she knew it. Then came the Devil and tempted her.
    He came in the guise of a newspaper advertisement of a marvelous, wonderful, and gilt-edged investment. It would double her legacy in a year. More than that, it would certainly pay dividends beyond her needs. Haste, said the messenger of gold, was imperative. She must send money immediately. She did it, as directed. She sent every cent that she had except enough to carry her for a month or so, until the golden stream should begin to flow. She received certificates in return--8,000 shares of an oil stock.
    In calm assurance, she waited. She renewed her rental in a home that she had thought of giving up. Then, one morning, she read disaster in the newspaper. In lurid headlines, the tale that meant her undoing was spread abroad to the public. The bankers from whom she had bought her stock had been raided by the United States Government. The stock itself was named as an out-and-out swindle. Her money, she read, would never come back.
    So she caught the train for New York and rushed to the Government offices named in the newspaper. The first inspector that she met confirmed her fears. The light went out for a time. Then she woke to face the world without the comfort of a cent.
    In that pitiful crowd that clustered about the Federal Building and the gorgeous offices of Burr Brothers in the Flatiron Building, there was more tragedy than one may tell. An old, old woman, white-haired, bent, and melancholy, told her story to the newspaper reporters. Half a century of work and penury--and then, in an hour--nothing! Upon her the vultures had pounced open-eyed. She was no victim of a hit-and-miss campaign. The bankers had known from her own lips that this was all that she had, and how she had made it. Their salesman--a bright, alert, kindly-voiced young man--had told her, after he had heard her story, that if she bought this oil stock she would soon have to work no more. She had believed him, as honest women will believe.
    On the morning of this Burr Brothers raid, the inspectors found in the offices a certain number of letters opened, but not yet sorted. These they had a right to investigate. Here is what they found, as the fruit of a single mail that came to the office of Burr Brothers.
    In these few letters, there was between $20,000 and $25,000 in cash, checks, drafts, and money-orders. One big check for $11,500 made up nearly half of it. It may have been a remittance from an outside agent, the fruit of many robberies. Other individual remittances were for sums ranging from $900 down to $2.50. There was a perfect flood of the small orders, mostly accompanied by letters written in the uncertain hand of the ignorant.
    Here are some more figures--not very dry. Last September, the Government raided a so-called banking-house in Broad Street, B. H. Sheftels & Co. This house published a paper devoted to booming its stocks and gambling chips of the most flamboyant type. This paper had 34,000 subscribers. The list of clients was bigger than that.
    It is depressing to contemplate the lists of "promoters." The accompanying list, made up from the records of the last seven years, does not begin to exhaust the subject. It is compiled for this article by the editor of the Financial World, a publication that, since its beginning, has consistently fought flotations of this character and watched them more closely than any other publication of which I have knowledge.
CAPITALIZATION    High Gravity United Oil Co.1,000,000
Ætna Oil Co.$   600,000    Hale-McLeod Oil Co.*1,000,000
Alaska Oil & Mines Explor. Co.3,000,000    Illinois Oil1,000,000
American Midway Oil3,000,000    Mid-West Osage Pet. Co.750,000
American Dutchess Oil Co.1,000,000    Middle States Osage Pet. Co.750,000
Buick Oil Co.1,000,000    Manhattan Oil Co.720,000
California & New York Oil Co.2,000,000    Mephisto Oil Co.*1,000,000
Chicago Exchange Oil & Refining Co.800,000    N. Y. Coalinga Oil Co.500,000
Chicago Texas Oil Co.2,100,000    National Coöperative Oil & Refining Co.5,000,000
Chicago Texas Export Oil Co.2,500,000    Paxton Gold Bond Oil1,000,000
Columbia Oil Co.500,000    Peoples Associated Oil Co.*1,000,000
Coalinga Aladdin Oil Co.1,000,000    Peru Oil & Land Co.3,000,000
Canadian Osage Petroleum Co.750,000    Texas Oil & Pipe Line Co.2,000,000
California Monarch Oil Co.1,000,000    Tulane Oil Co.1,000,000
Chanute Oil & Gas Co.*1,000,000    Union Consolidated Oil Co.255,127
Eastern Consolidated Oil Co.5,000,000    Union Consolidated Ref. Co.73,001
Export Oil & Pipe Line Co.2,000,000    Uncle Sam Oil Co., Cherryvale, Kan.20,000,000
Fountain Oil1,000,000    Victor Oil Co.1,000,000
Golden Rod Oil Co.250,000    Vesuvius Oil Co.1,000,000
Geyser Oil Co.1,000,000    Wellington Oil & Gas Co.150,000
Great Western Oil & Refining & Pipe Line Co.10,000,000    Western N. E. Osage Pet. Co.      750,000
Home Oil Co.1,000,000     $83,448,128
    *Capitalization estimated
CAPITALIZATION    Independence Mining Co. (with four other
Amalgamated Mining & Oil Co.$   5,000,000    Indian Camp Manhattan Mining Co.*1,000,000
Arizona Amalgamated Copper Co.15,000,000    Island Bay Mining Co.1,000,000
Argentum Mines Co.1,000,000    Jumping Jack Manhattan Mining Co.1,000,000
Aurora Consolidated Mining Co.77,865    La January Jones Mining Co.400,000
Amalgamated Gold & Copper Co.1,185,772    La Luz Mining & Tunnelling Co., Philadelphia20,100,000
Amador Gold Mining Co.10,000,000    Lou Dillon Mining Co.1,000,000
Afterthought Copper Co.4,000,000    McKinley Mining & Smelting Co.5,000,000
As You Like It Mining Co.*1,000,000    Mitchell Mining Co.8,000,000
Burnt River Gold Mining & Milling Co.2,000,000    Mt. Shasta Mining Co.20,000,000
Butte Mining & Development Co.1,000,000    Mystic Shrine Gold & Copper Mining Co.500,000
British American Copper Mining & Smelting Co.5,000,000    Mina Grande Copper Mining Co.10,000,000
Bishop Creek Gold Mining Co.3,000,000    Mexican Exploration & Mining Co.1,500,000
Barnes-King Mining Co.2,000,000    Mammoth Gold Co.490,493
Blue Bird Mining Co. (with four other companies)7,000,000    Myrtle Gold Mines, Ltd.1,099,046
Brewer Mining & Leasing Co.*1,000,000    Murchie Mines Consolidated5,000,000
Bovard Consolidated*1,000,000    Mt. Elliott Consolidated1,500,000
Cobalt Central Mines5,000,000    North Butte Extension Copper Co.5,000,000
Capacaya Mining Co.5,000,000    Newhouse Mines & Smelting Co.7,600,000
Chisna Consolidated Mines Co.5,000,000    New Century Mining Co.496,541
Casa Grande Mining & Smelting Co.203,951    Old Hundred Mining Co.5,000,000
Consolidated Gold & Copper Co.528,894    Orphan Copper Co.3,000,000
Commonwealth Gold Mines, Ltd.3,000    Ophir Mines of Oregon (with four other companies)7,000,000
Continental Securities Co., successor to the Hoosac
    Tunnel & Mining Co.
30,000,000    Ollalla Copper Mining & Leasing Co., N. Y.*3,000,000
Central Mining & Development Co.10,000,000    Penn. Wyoming Copper Co.10,000,000
Canadian Consolidated Mines Co.5,000,000    Pride of Arizona Copper Co.1,505,773
Cobalt Mutual*1,000,000    Prosperity Mining Co. Ltd.537,494
Douglas Copper Co.3,500,000    Plumas Gold Mining Co., Ltd.2,933,977
Dos Estrellas Mines & Development Co.2,500,000    Potosi-Orleans Gold Mining Co.858,752
Dominion Copper Mining Co.5,000,000    Peerless Bull Frog Mining Co.2,000,000
Death Valley Alcavardo Mining Co.6,000,000    Redman Mining & Milling Co.2,500,000
Eagle Nest Fairview Mining Co.1,000,000    Red Peak Mining Co.5,000,000
Empire State Gold Mining Co.107,479    Rawhide Coalition3,000,000
Express Gold Mining Co.93,540    Red Top Mining & Leasing Co.1,000,000
Erie-Ontario Gold Mines, Ltd.2,033,565    Round Mountain Central*1,000,000
El Capitan Copper Co.649,535    Rawhide Tarantula Mining Co.*1,000,000
Ely Central Copper Co.6,000,000    Rawhide Queen*2,000,000
Empire Gold Mines Co.2,000,000    Rawhide Gold Wreath Mining Co.*1,000,000
Furnace Creek South Extension Mining Co.1,500,000    Stray Dog Mining Co.1,000,000
Five Bears Mining Co.2,500,000    San Luis Mining Co.2,500,000
Forty-nine Creek Mining Co. (with four other companies)7,000,000    San Marco Mines Co.4,000,000
Greene Gold & Silver Co., New York25,000,000    Sierra Consolidated Gold Mining Co.3,500,000
Great Bent Consolidated Mining Co.1,250,000    Silver Leaf Mining Co.5,000,000
Geo. A. Treadwell Mining Co.3,500,000    Sultana Arizona Copper Co.2,500,000
Great Western Gold Co.12,000,000    Santa Domingo Gold & Copper Co.64,000,000
Gold Tunnel Mining Co.1,299,532    South Quincy Mining Co.*1,000,000
Golden Rod Mining Co.2,000,000    United States Gold Ledge Mining Co.2,000,000
Gold Run Mining & Tunnelling Co.1,000,000    United Cobalt Exploration Co.*10,000,000
Goldfield Bull Rush Mining Co.*2,000,000    United Mining Co.*6,000,000
Happy Jack Copper Mining Co.1,500,000    United Smelters Ry. Copper Co.*12,500,000
Hinds Consolidated Gold Mining Co.5,000,000    Victoria Chief Copper Co.3,000,000
Harcuvar Copper Co.2,000,000    Viznaga Gold Mining Co.263,357
Home Run Gold Mines, Ltd.80,591    Waldorf Mining & Milling Co.3,000,000
Haslemere Mining & Milling Co.90,759    Wellington Association500,000
Homestake Exten. Mining Co.185,900    Wellington Development Co.3,000,000
Hurricane Mining Co.1,175,939    Wellington Investment Co.3,000,000
Hawthorn Mines & Silver Co.10,000,000    Wellington Goldfield Mining Co.375,000
Idaho Gold Mines Development Co.2,500,000    Wellington Leadville Mining & Leasing Co.1,000,000
Iron King Extension Mining Co.255,745    Winona Gold Mining & Milling Co.      2,000,000
International Zinc Syndicate5,000,000     $527,882,500
International Gold Mining Co.10,000,000
    *Capitalization estimated
CAPITALIZATION    Kornit Mfg. Co.1,000,000
Agnew Auto Mailing Machine Co. Boston$   2,000,000    Leffler Electric System, Chicago*1,000,000
American Telegraphone Co. N. Y. C.2,000,000    Kent Coal Co.*500,000
American Clock Co.1,500,000    Magnetic Equipment Co.10,000,000
Alton Mfg. Co.500,000    Mexican Explor. & Dev. Co.7,500,000
American Palace Car Co.10,000,000    Magic Curler Co., Philadelphia1,000,000
Architectural Standard Bronze Co.1,000,000    Mergenthaler Horton Basket Machine Co., N. Y.5,000,000
American Guaranty Co.1,227,000    Multiphone Operating Co.2,000,000
Advalurem Medical Co. N. Y.*1,000,000    Metropolitan Real Estate & Imp. Co., N. Y.*3,000,000
American Nickel Co.*1,000,000    National Fibre & Cellulose Co.10,000,000
Bidwell Cold Storage Co., Chicago2,000,000    N. Y. Steamboat Co.150,000
Burlingame Telegraph Typewriter Co.1,500,000    New York & Chicago Electric Air Line, originally200,000,000
Central Coal, Lumber & Construction Co.500,000    New Jersey Mineral Co., Newark5,000,000
Cash Buyers', Union, Chicago5,000,000    Nutriola Co., Chicago1,500,000
Cummings-King Co.500,000    Northern Coal Co.*500,000
Consolidated Zinc Co.20,000,000    Patuxent Harbor Improvement Co.10,000,000
Clark Wireless Tel. Co.2,500,000    Philippine Plantation Co.*5,000,000
Crown Coal Co.500,000    Post True Principle Co., East St. Louis, Mo.*1,000,000
Cable Cove Power Co. (with four mining companies)7,000,000    Pioneer Cab Signal Co.*2,000,000
California Eucalyptus Lumber Co.1,000,000    Pacific Wireless Tel. Co.*5,000,000
Caloris Mfg. Co.250,000    Reynolds Alaska Dev. Co.3,500,000
Collins Wireless Telegraph1,000,000    Richards Pub. Co., Boston1,000,000
Columbia Mutual Lumber Co.*1,500,000    Round Mt. Red Top Mfg. Co.1,000,000
Central Life Securities Co.*2,000,000    Radio Wireless Telephone2,000,000
Calumet & Laeblac Traction Co.*2,000,000    Republic Life Ins.*2,000,000
Continental Wireless & Tel. Co.*1,000,000    Rendall Steel Co.*1,000,000
De Forest Wireless Telegraph10,000,000    Standard Smelting & Refining Co.580,280
De Friede Globe Tower Co.3,000,000    Standard Amalgamator Co.62,500
Dey Right System Co.1,000,000    Spencer Co.500,000
Dunlap Carpet Co.*1,000,000    Sierra Madre Land & Lumber Co.10,000,000
Empire Leasing Co.500,000    Schellenburger Wire Bound Fruit Crate Co.*5,000,000
E. D. Shepard & Co. and other affiliated companies11,500,000    Siddalls Soap Co.*2,000,000
El Progresso Banana Co.1,000,000    Standard Salt Co.*1,000,000
Electric Signagraph & Semaphone Co.*2,000,000    Toledo, Wabash & St. Louis Electric R. R.6,000,000
Ellsmere Farm Co.*1,000,000    Talkaphone Co.1,000,000
Fox Optical Co., Philadelphia1,000,000    Texas-Portland Cement Co.3,000,000
Fidelity Funding Co.5,000,000    United Wireless Co.20,000,000
Fair View Hailstone Co.*1,000,000    U. S. Graphite Co.2,000,000
Geyserite Soap Co.2,000,000    Vitak Co.*1,000,000
Great Northern Coal Co.*1,000,000    Western Multiphone Operating Co.1,000,000
Holcomb Automatic Engine Co.*2,000,000    Westmoreland Automatic Shoe Cleaning Co.      *1,000,000
Honduras Rubber Co.*1,000,000     $448,269,780
    *Capitalization estimated

    In this terrible list there are several classes of companies. Most of them are out-and-out frauds, and have already paid the penalty in full. A few of them were at one time semi-respectable, but have gone to pieces after campaigns of flotation similar to those used in the purely fraudulent class. Some few still hang on, but at such pitiful values for their shares that the victims are no better off than if they had been caught by the grossest swindles.
    Taken as a whole, this list may be considered a machine that has stolen from the people of the United States close to $1,000,000,000 in the last seven years. When you have got that fairly into your mind, consider then that it is practically only the "New York list" --in other words, a list made up only of the companies that got to be known in this corner of the country.
    First comes the Man with the Grand Idea. He may have purchased for a few dollars the right to call a mining prospect in Nevada or Cobalt after his own name. He may have bought an option on a "maybe" oil-well in California. He may have patented a telegraph-typewriter, or a process of extracting gold from the sea, or a basket-machine, or a new substance like "Kornit." It matters nothing what he has, so long as it looks "workable."
    Second stalks the "banker," a proud and haughty man. He has money, of course, but (equally of course) he is not risking it in developing mines, or starting factories, or any foolish thing like that. He has money because he earned it by acting as a go-between for needy inventors, miners, and manufacturers who wanted access to the money of the people.
    Third come the people--the little people bent with labor, patient through hard saving, eager for profit, hungry for large income, burning with the long-protracted desire to get rich. By the thousand, every hour, they pass the banker's door.
    Combine these three, and there you are! John Law did it, centuries ago, in France. They did it in England when they blew the South Sea Bubble. They do it here--in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago--in every city where the flock of victims is big enough to make it worth the while, every day that the sun is shining.
(a) George Graham Rice:      
     6.--Happy Jack Copper Mining Co.
1.--The Sullivan Trust Co.     7.--J. C. Kernahan Co.
2.--Eagle Nest Fairview Mining    8.--The British American Mining Co.
3.--As You Like It Mining Co.    9.--Toledo, Wabash & St. Louis Electric Railway.
4.--Lou Dillon Mining Co.    10.--Pioneer Cab Signal Co.
5.--Great Bend Mining Co.    11.--Ellsmere Farm Co.
6.--Jumping Jack Mining Co.     12.--Round Mountain Central Mining Co.
7.--Stray Dog Mining Co.    13.--The Vitak Co.
8.--Indian Camp Mining Co.     14.--The Rawhide Tarantula Mining Co.
9.--Fairview Hailstone Mining Co.    15.--Peoples Associated Oil Co.
10.--Furnace Creek South Extension Mining Co.    16.--Coalingo Aladdin Oil Co.
11.--Rawhide Coalition.    17.--Buick Oil Co.
12.--Rawhide Queen.    18.--California Eucalyptus Timber Co.
13.--Ely Central Copper Co.     19.--Red Top Mining & Leasing Co.
14.--Bovard Consolidation Mining Co.
15.--South Quincy Mining Co.    (c) A. L. Wisner:
16.--B. H. Scheftels & Co.
     1.--Amalgamated Mining & Oil Co.
(b) Burr Bros.:    2.--Murchie Mines Consolidated.
     3.--Empire Gold Mining Co.
1.--The New York & Chicago Electric Air Line.    4.--Philippine Plantation Co.
2.--Electric Signagraph & Semaphore Co.    5.--California & New York Oil Co.
3.--Talkaphone Co.    6.--California Monarch Oil Co.
4.--Lincoln Lots.     7.--American Midway Oil Co.
5.--Stock in their own Fiscal Agency.    8.--Hale-McLeod Oil Co.

News item
    The magic agent that works the combination is printer's ink. It is a sort of smelting process. Into a hopper at one end flows the Great Idea, the Little People, and a generous flood of Printer's Ink. At the other end, with baskets, stand the Man and the Banker--twin blackguards of the road. The wheels revolve, slowly sometimes, and then swiftly.
    Into the waiting baskets falls a never-ending flood of money. But from another spout is poured a different flood--the waste products of this most scientific of modern machines. Plundered widows, broken men of middle class, shamed clergy, rifled orphans, beggared girls--a sad and shameful dump-heap of humanity--these are the slag and ashes of the process of promotion.
    The officer of the United States Government who managed the recent raids has estimated that $100,000,000 a year is stolen from the people by these methods. Most editors seem to be surprised by the size of the figure. They think that it is too big. It is not; it is far too small. If one could add together the illegal promotions and criminally careless or ignorant campaigns in worthless bonds and stocks, insurance companies, real-estate certificates, etc., during the last year, I am certain that it would treble the Government's figure.
    It is time to look the facts in the face. It is time to find out who is responsible for these things. It is time to stop them, if we may.
    First, one may ask, why has the United States Government allowed these swindles to go on, year after year, and only moved, at last, after half a billion dollars has been stolen?
    The answer is very simple. The Federal Government of this country has no control over business in New York unless, first, it is part of interstate commerce; or, second, it uses the United States mails to defraud. Obviously, if a New York swindler sells a gold brick to a New York laborer, the Federal Government has nothing to do with that.
    All the recent raids are based on the fact that the swindlers forwarded through the mails circulars, letters, and stocks intended to defraud the public. Therefore the Government prosecutes. It does not prosecute because a fraud has been committed. It prosecutes merely because, in committing that fraud, the swindlers used the United States mails. The Government, then, comes in by the back door, instead of marching boldly up the front steps.
    Second, the victim wails, "Why does the law of my state allow this crime to go on?"
    Simply because, Mr. American Citizen, you and all your friends allow it. At Albany, there are statutes to prevent all this going on in New York City; but who hears the rumble of the machinery of the Law coming down the river road to clean the city out? Hardly in a decade has any officer of the Albany government so much as lifted a hand to stay the sack of the helpless, or raised a voice to call the police to aid.
    The law, in nearly every state, is weak enough, God knows; but when one adds to that weakness in the law itself the pitiful ignorance and pliancy of those who are sworn to enforce the law, and the legal and technical difficulty of obtaining a conviction in New York, in Massachusetts, or in Illinois, it is small wonder, that the thieves ply openly their trades in the streets of the great cities. advertisement
    Third, one may well wonder, why do not the great newspapers stamp it out, by publicity, by turning their reporters loose upon it?
    Because many of them are bought, soul and body, by the thieves, and work with them, hand in glove, by selling their space for crooked advertising.
    It is common. Of course there are exceptions. There are several papers, even in New York, that will not carry this advertising. They deserve no credit worth while, any more than a man deserves credit for not robbing the poor. Yet they get it; and perhaps it is as well.
    What is true in New York is true also in other cities. It is the crying shame of journalism that it has allowed itself to become the cat's-paw of criminal finance.
    Of course there are many excuses. In time, as one of these vultures of the financial game gets to be known, he is repressed. The Sun, or the Times, or some other fearless newspaper exposes him. Perhaps he is sued by some supposedly innocent stockholder in one of his worthless concerns, for even the worm will turn. Then he sinks into the earth and disappears. So Mr. A. L. Wisner, a notorious get-rich-quick promoter for many years, at last gave up his large and handsome offices downtown.
    Then, for a time, America was quit of him. His vocation being gone, he shipped for foreign lands. He went to England. There, if report be true, he essayed to resume his American rôle; but the land where they stopped the late lamented Whitaker Wright so suddenly and painfully is no fit place for brains like those of A. L. Wisner. Whispers from Scotland Yard reached him in due time. Instantly, he came back to the Land of Freedom, quite confident that something would turn up.
    It did. To-day, in the Brunswick Building, New York City, there is The Standard Securities Company, which sells to all the world beautiful engraved certificates representing the gamblers' chance in certain California oil-lands and in mines in many lands. At no place in the company-name or letter-head of it appears the name of Mr. A. L. Wisner. The spider is driven to disguise. He still spins webs to catch unwary flies, but he has retired to corners too dark for the rays of publicity to pierce.
    It is an old, old story. In this city there are a dozen syndicates of this sort, parading under sounding titles that are mere masks for the crawling beasts of prey. Into their names they like to weave the old and splendid words that once belonged to the vocabulary of legitimate investment, of sound finance, of public trust and confidence. Half a dozen of them use in their titles the word "Fidelity," "Trust," "Sterling," "Funding," "Debenture," "Fiduciary," "Security"--what splendid sounding words they all are! Best of them all is "Savings," and it has been used most liberally, in spite of the law's intent.
    For many years past, it has been part of my business to look carefully into the character of the various investment companies that have offered securities to the public. The first result of this long practice is that when a new concern comes to light that has in its title any of these glorious old words, suspicion immediately takes command of my mind. I would sooner trust, off-hand, the "Red Hawk Stock-Selling Syndicate" than the "Fidelity Funding & Savings Society." It is ten to one that the latter is a thick disguise for some notorious swindler who is afraid to put his name on paper.
    It is small comfort to the little investor in the country to hear, at least, that his financial idol has turned to common clay and sojourns in some lonely penitentiary. In time, it comes to this. I remember, some years ago, that I commented in this magazine upon the plans and intentions of one Cardenio F. King, a lordly promoter whose offices in New York and Boston were the wonder of his day. He was then publishing a weekly paper. He devoted a page or two of it to a reply, in which he drew unkind comparisons between himself, the Apostle of Small Investment, and THE  WORLD'S  WORK, that iniquitous agent of high-finance. He did not send a copy of the paper to this office, but many of his victims did. It turned up again, a few months later, when various unkind and biased authorities seized him and put him into Charlestown penitentiary, where he now dwells.
1.--All the officers of Burr Brothers, Flatiron Bldg., New York.
2.--Benson and Charles Bidwell, promoters of The Bidwell Cold Storage Motor Co., Chicago. Convicted.
3.--Charles E. Ellis and W. E. Graves, promoters of The Kornit Manufacturing Co. Convicted.
4.--Cardenio F. King, promoter of The King-Crowther Oil Co., The Alton Manufacturing Co., and The Adlurem Medicine Co. Convicted.
5.--S. A. Phillips, head of the Northwestern Fiscal Agency, St. Paul. Confederate of Cardenio F. King. Convicted.
6.--R. L. Bernier, Chicago and New York. Also a confederate of Cardenio F. King.
7.--George Graham Rice, Barney Scheftels, and other officers of B. H. Scheftels & Co.
8.--Officers of Paul Morris & Co., Philadelphia, Pa. Convicted.
9.--W. H. Wintemute, New York City. Promoter of the Gold Run Mining & Tunneling Co., also of the Redman Mining, Milling and Smelting Co. Now in the Tombs.
10.--Officers of The El Progresso Banana Co. and International Finance Co., New York.
11.--T. M. Henderson, St. Louis, Mo. Promoter of The Great Western Mining Co., and Afterthought Copper Co.
12.--Officers of the Continental Wireless Telegraph & Telephone Co., into which were merged the Radio Wireless Telephone Co., the Collins Wireless Telephone & Telegraph, the Clark Wireless Telegraph Co., the Massie Wireless Telegraph Co., and Pacific Wireless Telegraph Co.
13.--Congressman C. B. Van Duzer.
14.--Officers of the Equity Mines Syndicate.
15.--Geo. L. McKay and Chas. Colby. Promoters of the Chisna Consolidated Mining Co. and the Island Bay Mining Co.
16.--S. M. Biddinson. Promoter of the Central Coal, Lumber and Construction Co., New York City. Convicted by the state authorities.
17.--The Rhodus Brothers, Chicago. Promoters of the Mercantile Finance Co., the Central Life Securities Co., and the Republic Life Insurance Co. Also the Mina Grande Mining Co.
18.--Promoters of the Storey Cotton Co., Philadelphia, Pa.
19.--Promoters of the Provident Cotton Co., Philadelphia, Pa.
20.--Nathan Fries.
21.--Arnold & Co., St. Louis, Mo.
22.--Baldwin Cotton Co., Chicago.
23.--Peter Whitney, New York City.
24.--C. H. Reall, head of Reall & Co., New York City.
25.--H. A. Blackmur, Jr., head of J. Fulton Rogers & Co., N. Y. Convicted.
26.--J. Overton Paine. Tipster. Newark, N. J.
27.--Wallace H. Hopkins, Promoter of the Consolidated Zinc Co., Chicago.
28.--Eugene Davis and Edward C. Bryan. Promoters of the Capacaya Mining Co., Washington, D. C.
29.--George W. Emanuel and Labarree. Promoters of the Dos Estrellas Mines and Development Co. Convicted.
30.--Dey-Right System, Philadelphia, Pa. Closed as a fraud.
31.--Promoters of the Patuxent Harbor Improvement Co., New York City.
32.--J. B. Russell, Lima, O.
33.--Henry B. Wade. Promoter of the Friede Globe Tower Co., New York.
34.--J. Harry Mansfield. Known as Red Letter Mansfield.
35.--Big Mitt Henning for running a discretionary scheme.
36.--The officers of the Redeemable Investment Co., Boston.
37.--William Westcott Bridgeman, Nutley, N. J.
38.--Officers of the United Wireless Co., New York City. The De Forest Wireless was merged into this company.
39.--The National Coöperative Oil & Refining Co. Closed as a fraud by the Government.
40.--Standard Grain Co., Cleveland, Ohio.
41.--Clarence Vaughan, Minneapolis. Operated discretionary pool.
42.--W. W. Degge, Boulder, Colo. Promoter of the Wellington Association and a dozen other similar schemes.
43.--Ubero Plantation Co., Boston.
44.--The Nutriola Co., Chicago. Closed as a fraud by the Government.
45.--New Jersey Mineral Co., Newark, N. J. Closed as a fraud by the Government.
46.--Post True Principle Co., East St. Louis, Mo. Closed as a fraud.
47.--The Merchants' Grain & Brokerage Co., St. Louis, Mo.
48.--Officers of the International Gold Mining Co., Kansas City, Mo.
49.--Geo. G. Munroe of Munroe & Munroe, New York City.
50.--Geo. Robinson. Fake agent for wireless stocks.
51.--Illinois Oil Bond Co. Branded as fraud by California State Mineralogist.
52.--Fountain Oil Co. Branded as fraud by California State Mineralogist.
53.--Paxton Oil Bond Co. Branded as fraud by California State Mineralogist.
54.--American Duchess Oil Co. Branded as fraud by California State Mineralogist.
55.--High Gravity United Oil Co. Branded as fraud by California State Mineralogist.
All above Chicago frauds.
56.--The Philippine Plantation Co. Declared a fraud.

1.--J. J. Bamberger.
2.--Gaylord M. Wiltshire. Not under indictment, but postal authorities are very desirous of seeing him.
3.--Dr. Richard C. Flower.
4.--Dr. J. Grant Lyman.
5.--Charles R. Barlow.
6.--Geo. Livingston Richards. Boston.

1.--The Leffler Electric System, Chicago.
2.--The Mitchell Mining Co., New York City.
3.--The McKinley Mining & Smelting Co., Philadelphia, Pa.
4.--The Penn-Wyoming Copper Co., Grand Encampment, Wyoming.
5.--The Bishop Creek Gold Mining Co., New York City.
6.--Hoosac Tunnel & Mining Co., Chicago.
7.--The La Luz Mining & Tunnelling Co., Philadelphia, Pa.
8.--The Multiphone Operating Co., New York City.
9.--The Eastern Consolidated Oil Co., Hartford, Conn.
10.--The Holcomb Automatic Engine Co., Chicago.
11.--Victoria Chief Copper Mining Co., New York City.
12.--Siddalls Soap Co.
13.--Spencer and Empire Leasing Co. Both New York City fakes.
14.--Greene Gold & Silver Co.
15.--E. D. Shepard & Co. New York City bond dealers.
16.--Fidelity Funding Co., New York City.
17.--Ellsworth Co., New York City.
18.--American Nickel Co., New York City.
19.--Chanute Oil and Gas Co., Chanute, Kans.


Northern Coal Co.


All promoted by Hugo Van Hagan and Henry N. Roach.
21.--Standard Salt Co.
22.--Kent Coal Co.
23.--Crown Coal Co.
24.--Great Northern Coal Co.


Douglas Lacey & Co.
26.--A. L. Wisner & Co.
27.--Caloris Manufacturing Co., Philadelphia, Pa.
28.--The Sullivan Trust Co.
29.--The International Zinc Co.
30.--Joshua Brown & Co.
31.--Union Security Co., Chicago, Ill.
32.--The Brewer Mining & Leasing Co.
33.--Ollalla Copper Mining & Milling Co., New York City.
34.--The Mergenthaler Horton Basket Machine Co.
35.--The Schellenburger Wire Bound Fruit Crate Co.
36.--The Dunlap Carpet Co., Philadelphia, Pa.
37.--The Amalgamated Mining & Oil Co.
38.--The Richards Publishing Co., Boston, Mass.

    This corporation has successfully mixed flamboyant promotion with legitimate underwriting. It is the most striking example of a concern "on the edge" between reputable banking and disreputable promotion. Here is a list of the principal companies in the last five years:
1.--American Telegraphone.
2.--Dictograph Co.
4.--Oxford Linen Mills.
5.--Eastern Underwear Mfg. Co.
6.--Dartika Co. (Rubber plantation in Guiana.)
7.--Union Savings Bank & Trust, Sunnyside, Wash.
8.--Texas Loan & Guaranty.
9.--Boston Securities Co.

    Similarly, three years ago last October, this office was visited again and yet again by a gentleman who came to complain that in letters to many people this magazine had "lambasted" the United Wireless, and pronounced it a fraud.
    At last, in curiosity, the editor went down to the company's office. He asked for a balance-sheet. One was produced. Turning it over, he asked casually what was meant by the item of $14,000,000 "other securities," listed in the statement.
    "Those," said President Wilson, "are the stocks and bonds of other companies."
    "Have you got them?" he was asked.
    "We have," he said. He called the secretary and instructed him to show the stocks and bonds. I went with him into another room of the office-suite. There, piled up on wooden shelves, in a room that had on it an ordinary spring-lock, in the heart of a fire-trap office-building, lay all that wealth!
    "Wonderful!" said I.
    And thereupon and immediately the United Wireless, through its official secretary, received the one and only cash offer ever made for its $14,000,000 assets. It was an offer of twenty-five cents, if the company would deliver the securities.
    This fraud was so patent that it has been a four-years' marvel to me how it could be carried on so long without someone stopping it. Half a dozen people, as a matter of fact, did make efforts to come in and put an end to the swindle; but some of them grew tired, and some of them were venal.
    The use of high-sounding names upon which to float worthless or intensely speculative stocks is an old, old dodge. If this method is quite generally practised, it is not by any means the only one. Many promoters, legitimate and illegitimate, use the banking business itself as a decoy. One of the most successful companies engaged in selling stocks of new inventions--veritable gambling-chips--to the innocent public, publishes at all times a "bank-list." It deals in the stocks of banks and trust companies all over the United States. In conservative financial and banking journals, it publishes advertisements offering for sale stocks of the strongest banks in the Union.
    It is a blind, pure and simple. Behind it, the syndicate works day and night in out-and-out promotion. The stocks that bring it practically every dollar of profit that it gets are the most alluring kind of gambling stocks, inventions that look as though they might some day rival the Bell Telephone, the cotton-loom, the Morse telegraph. The kind of people to whom they seek to sell are those who take chances through ignorance. To catch such victims, respectability in appearance is necessary. Therefore the bank-stock department, and the insidious advertising campaigns in the highest-type journals that can be hoodwinked into taking them.
    In nine cases out of ten, enterprises of this sort are utterly beyond the reach of the law. They are not simple swindlers, of the type that sell things that do not exist. On the contrary, they sell the stocks of companies that have property, that are operating perhaps a mill, or a wire, or a factory in some live city. When they sell stock, they enter into no binding guarantee upon which a man might sue them.
    Indeed, I have very often been moved to admiration, while contemplating the efficiency of the machinery set in motion to fleece the innocent investor. Watching it at work, one gets the same feeling that comes as he stands aside to watch the working of a Mergenthaler linotype, or a combination header in the golden wheat-fields of the West. It is so excellent, so efficient, so infallible. If, by chance, it gathers in some strong-lunged and heavy-fisted fighter, some dangerous victim, its sensitive mechanism rejects him very quickly. He "gets his," and goes his way. There are professional "victims" who get rich by being "caught." Carefully it picks its victims, old men who know not the ways of the law, young men who dare not fight, women of childlike trust and simplicity, clergymen whose lips, if calamity comes, are sealed by shame.
    In the trade, the lists of possible victims have varying values. A "name-broker" can earn a living in New York in normal times if he has 10,000 "sold once" names. That means the names of people who have bitten once at offers of easy wealth through stocks. He may be able to sell that list ten times in a year, at an average of two cents a name. If his list runs up to 250,000 (as many lists do) and is carefully graded, he need never work another day.
    I do not know, accurately, how the grading is done. Of course, some lists are very select. A clerk who stole the New England list of a banking-house in Boston a couple of years ago sold it, in its entirety, to a name-broker at a lump sum of twenty-five cents a name. He retailed that list, as "highest grade" and "select," at ten cents a name, and only to dealers in fairly good but intensely speculative stocks.
    Perhaps the highest-priced "quick" list consists of the names of people of small means who have lately inherited money. A company which retails a list of this sort to five promoters adds to it week by week, and gets a very high price. The names are obtained through a clipping-agency, which may (or may not) be an innocent partner in the crime. The agency is under contract to furnish to the name-broker all printed details of the settlement of small country-estates. Again, legal notices very often contain valuable names. The house-organs published by some life-insurance companies have long lists of recent beneficiaries. These names are the finest possible grist for the mills.
    Close behind a list of this undoubted character comes a collection of selected clergymen. Catholic priests are considered the best, because, more often than any others, they are financial advisers of the poor. The fishing for clerical names is easy enough. The best-paying periodicals for swindling-promoters are the religious papers. Some of them are very careful what they take, but many of them have carried in the advertising pages and are carrying to-day--advertisements that are thinly-disguised traps for the innocent, both lay and clerical.
    It is a beautiful, a perfect process, from the buying of a list of "selected clergy" down in Nassau Street, at four cents per name, to the process of "shaking them out" after a while, if the thing does show signs of really turning out well. For rare indeed is it that the horde of little people who carry the load through the lean years of development ever reap the big profits, if any such may come. It is so easy to shake them out. A couple of despondent letters from the bankers, a few disinterested offers from various and sundry brokers to buy the stock, "more as a favor to you than because of real value"--and there you are. It is the experience of the trade that more than 80 per cent. of the small holders of any security can be scared out or coaxed out.
    It seems quite hopeless, this article. Even the Government's wholesale prosecution of the palpable frauds is only a passing phenomenon. A year from now, in all human probability, there will be just as many brazen swindlers plying their trades in New York, Chicago, Boston, and Kansas City as there are to-day.
    When a patent and above-board swindle like the United Wireless sells stocks to 28,000 people; when Sheftels & Co., headed by a convict, have 34,000 victims on their list; when another, parading under the mask of respectability and church connections, gathers a list of, it is said, more than 1,000,000 people--how may one hope to stop the pillage? Verily, a fool is born every minute of the day, and the grist will never run short.