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January 13, 1910


Person Using One Can Be Tried Only
on False Pretense Charge.

To pass a worthless Confederate greenback is no violation either of the state or federal law, decided the prosecuting attorney's office yesterday, and the only charge that might be entertained is the obtaining of money under false pretenses.

A five-dollar bill, made in 1862 by the state of Georgia and issued by the Merchants and Planters' bank for the states of the Southern Confederacy, was passed a short time ago on Mrs. Max Joffey, Missouri avenue and Locust street. The woman who presented it bought 60 cents worth of goods and was given $4.60 in change. The case was presented to the United States district attorney.

"This five-dollar bill is not counterfeit, as at one time it was genuine legal tender," said Norman Woodson, assistant prosecuting attorney, yesterday. "The only charge the woman can be tried for is false pretense. No warrant has been issued."

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July 4, 1909



Pardon Recommended for Woman,
That Her Life May Be Pro-
longed -- Feed Prisoners
Too Cheaply?

Conditions at the Jackson county jail, Missouri avenue and McGee street, are criticised by physicians who care for the federal prisoners there.

One of the prisoners is Mary Cook, serving a sentence for six months for counterfeiting, who has become seriously ill. In order to save the woman's life, the United States court officers here have recommended a pardon. This step is most unusual.

The county marshal, in charge of the jail is not held blameworthy by the department of justice, nor by the physicians.

"It is the impossible way they are trying to make the jail cost the tax payers next to nothing," said Dr. Eugene Carbaugh, one of the federal physicians.

When at jail attending the Cook woman, Dr. Carbaugh and Dr. Lapp, an alderman, who is one of the federal physicians, made a casual examination to find the cause for sickness. The declare it is largely due to defective plumbing and neglect of ordinary sanitary precautions.

Without exception, they say, the prisoners complained of the food. The government pays 50 cents a day to the county for boarding its prisoners. The county is feeding the prisoners at a cost of 11 cents a day, which is 2 cents a day more than the bill had been.

When asked what remedy could be proposed, the government representative said "the doctors tell us it would be necessary to tear out every bit of plumbing in the place, and then keep trusties or other intelligent men constantly at work watching the prisoners, to see that they help keep the place in order. More money is needed for better food."

Judge John F. Philips has never spoken of conditions in the Jackson county jail, but he never sends a prisoner there to serve out a sentence. He called a special grand jury last week to take two boys out of the jail and to give him a chance to send them to some place where conditions are at least sanitary. The Cook woman, who is ill through hereditary trouble, was sent to the jail here at her own urgent request.

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May 27, 1909


Many Bad $2 Bills Are Now Cir-
culating in Kansas City.

Don't take any bad money. You are likely to do so unless there is a closer observation of $2 bills. Government inspectors have been notified that the new issue of bad twos has reached here, and United States Marshal E R. Durham's men yesterday got three of them.

The fake bills are blue, rather than green; on bond paper instead of anything like real bill paper, and they have no silk threads running through them. These silk threads show plainly in new bills and as the new fraud is on new paper, it is easy to find they have no silk fiber.

There have been about a dozen complaints made to the government officials.

"We hear of comparatively few," said an official yesterday. "It is not a nice thing to say, but a true one; when a man gets a spurious bill forced upon him, his first effort is to foist it on somebody else. His duty, under the law, is to notify the treasury department, but that would mean the coin or the bill being taken away from him, which is more than the average man seems to be willing to stand.


May 4, 1909


Other Penalties Assessed by United
States Court.

In the federal court yesterday Charles L. King was sentenced to two years in the Leavenworth prison and fined $100 and costs for counterfeiting. Mary Cook, his accomplice, was fined $100 and sentenced to the Jackson county jail for four months.

Herbert H . Ready and A. F. Brooker were fined $100 and costs each on charges of using the mails to defraud, and Harry J. Egan was fined $50 and costs on a similar charge.

Sam Nigro was fined $10 and costs for retailing liquor without a license. The case against his wife was dismissed.

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April 11, 1909



John Burns and Charles Adams
Made Dash for Liberty When De-
tectives Entered Room -- Moulds
and "Queer" Money Seized.


With metal in the melting pot just about hot enough to pour and the moulds on a table ready to receive it, John F. Burns and Charles Adams were surprised yesterday morning in the act of making some sort of coin by Detectives James Fox and William Walsh of Captain Thomas P. Flahive's district. The men were found in the back room of a house at 1732 Oak street. They claim they were merely trying to make a medallion.

At the first intimation of danger, Burns, who was engaged in preparing the moulds, made a dash for the door, ran to the stairs and jumped to the floor below. Detective Walsh followed him, but by a misstep, lost his footing and fell from the top step to the bottom, injuring his leg.

Notwithstanding his injury he pursued the man south on McGee street to Twentieth and back through the alley between Grand and McGee. A small dog guarding the shed, angered by Burns' sudden intrusion, set up a loud barking and snarling. The actions of the dog attracted the attention of Michael Gleason, patrolman in that neighborhood, who immediately ran to the place, arriving there about the same time as Walsh. Walsh fired three shots while pursuing his man. At the station it was found the injury to his leg was so severe that it was necessary to send the detective to his home in an ambulance.


Adams, Burns' partner, was finishing his lunch when the police entered. By an oversight, the police declare, the door to the room was left unlocked. The alleged counterfeiters base their one hope of leniency on this fact, asserting that they were simply "experimenting" to find a metal with which they could get a "sharp" reproduction of a medallion by the use of plaster of Paris moulds.

In the room was found two plaster moulds, one with the impression of a silver quarter, and the other a half dollar, together with eight counterfeit half dollars. The coins were fair imitations, but lacked weight and "ringing" qualities. The edges of the coins were still in the rough, just as they were taken out of the moulds.

Files, chisels, and odd-shaped knives, together with a seal, were also found among the paraphernalia confiscated. The scale was a crude affair, made with copper wire and the tops of two tin cans. The can tops served as trays, the whole danging from a nail driven into an upright stick of wood and fastened to a pedestal.

According to Burns and Adams the scale was used to weigh the ingredients for the alloy.

"We got our ideas from books in the public library," said Burns yesterday. "In passing a jewelry store on Main street about three weeks ago w2e saw a medallion of Kansas City displayed in the window. The price was $1.75, and we got an idea that if we could reproduce that medallion for 30 or 40 cents we could make money by the sale of them.


"Not wishing to go to the expense of having a die made, we used the coins , as the book from which we gained our information stated that coins could be used for experimenting purposes. We conducted our experiments openly and made no effort to conceal our actions. Mrs. Nellie Evett, the landlady at 1732 Oak street, saw our toils and the moulds in the room. Our door was never locked and anyone who wanted could come in at any time.

Mrs. Evett said yesterday that she did not know in what work the men were engaged. She dec la4red that she had been in their rooms but once or twice since they took them, six weeks ago. She said further that Burns and Adams had paid her but one week's rent since they came.

"I knew they wre out of work," said she, "and I felt sorry for them. They seemed to be gentlemanly, good boys, and I know they tried to find something to do to earn an honest living."

Captain Flahive called Burns into his private office yesterday afternoon while Mrs. Evett was present. At the end of the interview, Burns took an affectionate leave of his former landlady, pressing her hand and kissing her. Following this, Mrs. Evett was subjected to a rigid cross examination, but convinced of her innocence and ignorance of details regarding the work carried on in her rooms, Captain Flahive allowed her to go.

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March 26, 1909



Secret Service Men and City Detect-
ives Discover and Break Up a
Local Plant and Arrest
the Operators.


The operations of a gang of counterfeiters in Kansas City came to a sudden end yesterday with the arrest at Seventh and Penn streets by a United States secret service agent and city detectives of a man and woman giving their names as Charles King and Mary Cook., and the discovery of the apparatus used in making the spurious coin. Both admitted that bad dollars had been made for the past month.

For the past few weeks Charles A. Adams, United States secret service man in Kansas City, has received complaints of bad coins being circulated. He paid particular attention to the arrest of Daniel Kelly in Kansas City, Kas., March 19 for passing a bad dollar on William G. Smith, a grocer at 1700 North Third street. At the time of his arrest Kelly had three irregular coins in his possession. In police court Judge Sims fined Kelly $500 for vagrancy.


Adams, who visited Kelly in prison, says Kelly confessed making the coins and said his assistants were living at 621 Penn street in Kansas City, Mo.

Adams gave the facts to the police department and Andy O'Hare and Samuel Lowe, detectives, found that the couple were living in the basement of the brick house at the number which Kelly gave. Though the detectives watched the place last Sunday, nothing worth mentioning was discovered. The coins which the couple passed were good ones and could not excite suspicion.

Adams himself watched the house yesterday morning. About 10 o'clock the woman came out and got on a Roanoke car and at Southwest boulevard changed to the Rosedale line. The secret service man, of course, was following her. In Rosedale the woman alighted and entered a grocery store and asked if the clerk could change a dollar.


The clerk looked at the coin critically and returned it.

"It's no good," he said, and the woman hurried out.

She walked a short distance when she met a little girl.

"Have you the change for $1?" she asked.

The child shook her head, and she passed on. When Mrs. Cook came to the baker of Mrs. Florence Catley, 1142 Kansas City avenue, she entered and again attempted to pass one of the dollars and was again refused. Out on the sidewalk, Adams stopped the woman.

"You are under arrest," he said.


"Why, I didn't know that it was a bad coin," she protested. "It certainly looks like one, doesn't it?"

But she accompanied Adams up town and as they were walking up the front walk to the rooming house, Detectives O'Hare and Lwe came out with King. She broke down and in the presence of King told the whole story.


"It was all Kelly's fault," she sobbed. "We came here from Denver four weeks ago and there wasn't a job in sight that my husband could get. At last he fell in with Kelly, and then they began to make the bad dollars. But today is the first time that I tried to pass one of the coins. Last night we ate the last food in the house, and I had to do something. I went out and tried to pass one of the coins to keep from starving."

The man hung his head during the recital, and at her conclusion corroborated her statements. He said that they had heard of the arrest of Kelly in Kansas City, Kas., and destroyed the molds at once. In an old vault at 512 Broadway where several buildings have been torn down, he told the officers that they might find the broken pieces.

Following his instructions, the officers found five sets of plaster moulds, a quantity of tin and antimony, and a moulding pot. All the material was taken to the federal building and will be held as evidence. The prisoners were taken to police headquarters, where the woman was placed in the matron's room and the man in the holdover.

In the matron's room the Cook woman said that she had formerly lived in Kansas City. She said that she had purchased a home on the installment plan at 2044 Denver avenue, and had made six payments, until last December. She separated from her husband, Thomas Cook, about a year ago, she said, and went to Denver. There she met King, who was working for a gas company.

"We came back to Kansas City because times were hard," she said, as she wept, "but he couldn't get any work here, and he fell in with Kelly. I didn't know for some time that they were making the bad money. Today is the first time that I tried to pass one of the coins."

The couple will be turned over to the United States authorities today. None of the neighbors suspected anything wrong. The family of John Pulliam, who lived on the same floor in the basement, thought that the man and his wife were employed down town. Kelly and king, the woman said, generally made the coins at night. They were such poor imitations that it is doubtful if many were passed.

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May 7, 1908


George Elliott and Tillie Bullene
Were Arrested Only Saturday.

Arrested last Saturday for counterfeiting, George Elliott and Tillie Bullene were started to the federal prison at Fort Leavenworth yesterday afternoon, the man to do hard labor for two and a half years and pay a fine of $5,000, and the woman to undergo eighteen months at hard labor and to pay a fine of $2,500. Both prisoners pleaded guilty and threw themselves on the mercy of the court. At 511 Locust street, where the prisoners had been caught, a complete counterfeiting outfit was captured, together with sity-five bogus dollars and enough material on hand to make many more. Assistant District Attorney Leslie J. Lyons prosecuted the case.

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May 6, 1907


Woman Counterfeiter Begged Police
to Take Her to Them.

The cases of George Elliott and Tillie Bullene, the confessed counterfeiters, who were arrested Saturday night in their room at 511 Locust street, were taken up yesterday by the United States grand jury. Sergeant Peter McCosgrove and Patrolman Joseph Enright, the arresting officers, gave their testimony and produced one of the most complete counterfeiter's outfits ever captured here.

Miss Bullene said that poverty drove her and Elliott to counterfeiting. Elliott made the money and she passed it. The woman cliamed that a sore hand needed constant attention and medicine had to be bought for it.

As she sat in the matron's room at police headquarters last night she had but two concerns -- her hand, which was giving her much pain, and the fact that her thirty-nine pet white rats, left behind at 511 Locust street, were suffering for food.

"I will promise not to make the least effort towards getting away," she told Captain Whitsett, "if you will only send some one along with me so I can feed my white rats. No one else wil care for them and it's downright cruel to let even a rat starve -- especially a white rat."

Miss Bullene cried bitterly as she said her hand pained her so. Dr. J. P. Neal fromm the emergency hospital, who examined the hand, said that iss Bullene was suffering from cancer. He also said that her hand may have to be amputated to save her life.

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May 4, 1908



Block Tin and Antimony Molded in
Plaster of Paris and Plated
With Silver -- He Was
Out of a Job.

George Elliot, who gave the name of George Bullene when the police arrested him and found a counterfeiting outfit in his rooms at 511 Locust street Saturday night and the woman with him, Tillie Bullene, from whom Elliot chivalrously borrowed a name, yesterday told Police Captain Walter Whitsett exactly how they make bad money.

Block tin, purchased from any tinner, and antimony are melted together and cast into plaster of paris moulds by the Elliot process. The imitation coins are then plated with nitrate of silver by the very ordinary process of electrolysis, known to every school boy. A file is used to trim off the rough edges and make the milling uniform.

Sixty-six of the alloy dollars were taken from Elliot's room. They have the ring of a real silver dollar, are very little under weight and look like good money. One has to take the Elliot brand of coin between the fingers and feel its smoothness before one would detect that it is not the genuine article. Elliot used three real dollars to make his plaster of paris molds. They are of the years 1899, 1900 and 1901. The original coins, molds, alloy, metal, electric batteries and all were found by the police.

Eliot, in his confession says he learned how to make this money from an old counterfeiter in Denver seventeen years ago, but never made use of his secret until two months ago, when he was t hrown out of employment at the Kansas City Nut and Bolt works and Tillie Bullene lost her position at the Loose-Wiles Cracker and Candy factory. Elliot's picture is in the police rogues' gallery, and he was fined $25 for vagrancy about six months ago. He is 32 years old and has spent most of his life in Kansas City. Tillie Bullene met him about a year ago.

Captain Whitsett has notified United States secret service men, Edward J. McHugh of St. Louis and J. A. Adams of Kansas City.

John G. Ritter of 325 Park avenue, a driver for the United States Express Company, yesterday identified Tillie Bullene as the woman who, a few days ago, gave him a counterfeit dollar. He had whittled the coin in two, but brought half of it to Captain Whitsett.

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May 3, 1908





Plaster of Paris Molds, Melting Pots
and Other Paraphernalia for
Producing Bogus Coins Dis-
covered by Police.

In the arrest of a couple giving the name of George and Tillie Bullene at 511 Locust street last night, the police are certain they have a pair of genuine counterfeiters. Four plaster of paris molds, two of them still damp, two pots for melting metal, two batteries and a bad dollar were found in the room. All of the molds are of a dollar.

The woman confessed to Police Sergeant M. E. Ryan, the sergeant says, that for the past year she has been living with Bullene and has been passing the "queer" as fast as he made it. To reporters, however, she refused to make any statement.

Mrs. Bullene brought about the arrest herself. She entered Hudson's drug store at Fifth and Broadway early in the evening. She made a purchase which came to 15 cents, and pushed a dollar slowly along the counter.

T. H. Murphy, a drug clerk, was in the store visiting a friend. The woman's actions attracted his attention and aroused his suspicions. Taking the dollar in his hand he felt of it and said:

"This is a bum dollar. Where did you get it?"

"Well, I declare," said the woman, in apparent surprise, "Let me see who did give me that. Give it here. I think I know who gave it to me now."

With that she left the drug store. Murphy, still filled with suspicion, followed the woman at a safe distance. Many times she looked back, but he always managed to elude her vision. When she got to 511 Locust street she cast one more quick glance behind and darted hurriedly into the house.

Murphy felt that his suspicions were confirmed. He went at once to police headquarters and told his story to Sergeant M. E. Ryan, who detailed Sergeant Peter McCosgrove and Patrolman Joseph Enright on the case. They found both people at the house and placed them under arrest. In the woman's purse was found six "phony" dollars. No bad coin was found on the man.

Two of the molds show plainly that they have been recently used, and there are two which appear to have been made only a few hours, as the plaster had not set. In a match box with some small chips of copper was another "bad" dollar. It is well made, however, and has a ring almost like a good dollar. Ground glass is sometimes used to give counterfeit coins the proper ring. When Enright and Cosgrove brought the molds and metal pots to headquarters they mentioned casually that "there are two old batteries attached out there. We left them."

They were sent back to the room to bring in everything. The batteries are used to give counterfeit coins a thin coating of silver, it is said.

The woman's trunk was taken to Central station about midnight and searched. It was filled with small articles such as cheap soap, perfume, face lotions and other toilet articles which had not cost more than 5 or 10 cents each. She evidently had confined her operations largely to drug stores in passing the spurious coins.

The pair will be turned over to the federal authorities.

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