February 2, 1910
SIGNORA TO JOIN ISNARDI?
She Is Happy at Sumptuous Dinner
on Eve of Departure.
Since Peter Isnardi left "Little Italy" three weeks ago, the residents of that section have employed their time chiefly in simmering down their financial losses so as to present them to the county attorney and wondering where the delinquent consular agent went when he left here. Opinion seems to be almost equally divided, some holding that he committed suicide by throwing himself into the Missouri river, and others that he dropped inconspicuously across the line into Mexico where the law would protect him from any embezzlement charge preferred by his enemies.
Those inclined to the latter theory felt themselves vindicated yesterday when it was learned that Signora Marguerite Isnardi also was preparing to leave the city and refused to tell anybody where she was bound.
Before the consular agent left he borrowed heavily from his friend and among those who lost in this manner was Antonio Sansone, living close to the consulate at 653 Cherry street. In part payment of what Isnardi owed Sansone, the signora yesterday turned over to him all her furniture. With her grips and trunk packed she then repaired to a restaurant and had a sumptuous dinner in which it is said wine figured. Several of her friends were present. She was happy.
"Where are you going?" someone asked the signora.
"I am going away; who knows where?" she answered with a characteristic shrug. "Perhaps I will be back soon, perhaps not."
The conversation lagged after that vague bit of information for the simple reason that one party to it could not speak very many English words.
"I am convinced that Signora Isnardi is going to join her husband," said J. P. Deo, editor of the Osservatore, an Italian newspaper at 210 East Fifth street. "Of course, we don't blame her for that, but we are naturally curious as to her destination and she certainly won't tell.
"Since Isnardi left here so suddenly people have been coming to light every day who have lost all the way from $10 to $1,000. The amount of money loaned or entrusted to the care of the man really is enormous when you come to think about it all coming from poor folks.
"A reward of $300 will be offered by the Italians for information leading to the location of Isnardi. First, however, I want to look into the law governing his case. I may also write an open letter to Guido Sabetta, the consul to Chicago."
Labels: Cherry street, embezzlement, immigrants, newspapers
January 30, 1910
DEAD OR FUGITIVE.
LITTLE ITALY DIVIDED AS TO
THE FATE OF MISSING CONSUL.
Only Charge Which Might
Be Brought Against Him
Not Extraditable There.
As days pass and there is no sign of Peter Isnardi, the missing Italian consular agent, the theory gains force in "Little Italy" that he has either taken his own life or else gotten well out of the country. In line with the latter belief comes a statement from Judge Ralph S. Latshaw of the criminal court that in Mexico the crime of embezzlement is not extraditable. Embezzlement is the only charge Isnardi has to fear from his enraged fellow countrymen.
Since he took "French leave" two weeks ago yesterday, Signora Isnardi declares she has had no word from her husband. She was a little calmer yesterday than she has been at any time since the occurrence, but still refuses to discuss any of the affairs that might serve to incriminate the man to whom she had been a helpmate for twenty-five years.
It is rumored about the Italian quarter that the signora is one of those who believes that the delinquent consular agent has taken his life. This idea was first suggested by Father Charles Delbecchi of the Holy Rosary Catholic church, and it is now becoming general.
"I believe Isnardi went down to the Missouri River the night he left and threw himself in," said Antonio Sansone, who lent the agent $1,000 two weeks before he dropped out of sight. "Isnardi was what you Americans call a good fellow. He was rather extravagant and believed firmly in keeping his head up, whether or not he had the money to justify his pretensions. He was not dishonest at heart.
CONSUL APPEARED WORRIED.
"During the two weeks preceding his departure he acted queerly about his office, seeming at times to be almost beside himself with worry. There is no doubt in my mind that his delinquencies finally drove him to suicide."
Signora Isnardi yesterday gave Sansone a written order to take possession of the fixtures in the consulate. They are worth about $200.
Notwithstanding the pressure brought upon the prosecutor's office to issue a complaint against Isnardi, nothing of the kind has been done nor will be done, it was stated yesterday, until the charges assume a more concrete form.
Speaking of the case, Judge Latshaw said he incline to the belief that Isnardi has taken flight in Mexico or Canada.
"He has had plenty of time to reach other of these countries," the judge said, "and if he has, he is safe from extradition. I can quote many instances where men in danger of arrest on charges of embezzlement or obtaining money under false pretenses have gone to Mexico and openly gone into business there. If Isnardi feared that it would be construed that his business had not been altogether fair to his clients here, he may have taken the precaution to drop across the frontier until matters quiet down."
The consulate remained locked up yesterday, and the private papers of the consul were not examined.
Labels: embezzlement, immigrants, Judge Latshaw, ministers
January 28, 1910
HARD TOIL, MONEY
AND BANKER GONE.
"LITTLE ITALY" AROUSED OVER
THE DISAPPEARANCE OF
Many Italians Deposited
Savings With Missing
Little Italy was never before stirred as it was yesterday, when the announcement was made that Peter Isnardi, consular agent of the United States government, had left for parts unknown. Several hundred Italians are worried about sums aggregating about $12,000, the savings of years, which they had deposited with him. Most of those who entrusted their money to Isnardi were railroad section hands and laborers, recent arrivals from Sunny Italy, and unable to speak the English language. Some had been saving to pay the passage of wives or sweethearts to the land of promise; others that they might some day return to their old homes in Italy and to pass the sunset of their lives among friends and amid familiar scenes and surroundings.
A subscription paper will be started today by J. P. Deo, publisher of an Italian newspaper at 210 East Fifth street, to raise money with which to hire lawyers and detectives to seek Isnardi. A committee of Italians will call upon the United States district attorney today to learn what can be done in the matter.
"We intend to secure an order tomorrow from the prosecuting attorney," said Deo last night, "to open Isnardi's safe. He kept all his books locked in it. Not until we can see the books will we know the facts in the case."
A telegram was sent to the minister of foreign affairs at Rome to find whether or not the money that Isnardi was to forward to the bank at Rome was ever received there.
The Italian consul-general at Chicago announced yesterday that the Kansas City office would be abolished. Roma Ladife, vice consul at Chicago, arrived here yesterday to close the office. He took possession of the Italian flag, which hung in front of the agency at 512 East Fifth street, also the seal of the Italian government and the coat-of-arms. Consul Guido Sabetta, in Chicago, that the Italian government funds were not involved.
OPERATED PRIVATE BANK.
In addition to occupying the office of consular agent, Isnardi operated a private bank. This was wholly outside of his official duties, and for any losses that might occur the Italian government is in no way responsible. The consular agent is supposed to have received nearly $8,000 in savings of Italians in the three and one-half years he has held the office. The remaining $4,000 is money he collected for steamship tickets and to be sent to Italy, to be deposited in the bank of Rome.
Local Italians were opposed to Isnardi from the day he was appointed. charges have been filed against him several times with the Chicago office. Though there were rumors among Italians in Kansas City regarding the consular agent, deposits continued to come from those who lived in the country or in railroad camps.
Ten per cent interest was offered by Isnardi on deposits. This was more than the Italian Central bank at Rome pays, which they had all known in Italy. The Italian bank pays 3 1/2 per cent on time deposits. Those who did not want to send their money to Rome could deposit it with their consular agent, Peter Isnardi, in his private bank.
The office of consular agent pays no salary. It is an honorary position. Isnardi had no other business here, and no apparent private income. The Italians say his sole income was from money he collected from his private bank.
APPOINTMENT WAS PROTESTED.
Isnardi succeeded G. G. Lanvereri as consular agent in Kansas City. Isnardi was appointed by Count A. L. Rozwadowski, who died shortly after the appointment. His office was in Chicago. Signor Sabetta succeeded him. A committee of Italians went to Chicago when the count died and asked for the removal of Isnardi. Charges of dishonesty were made against him, but Sabetta refused to act without first having an investigation.
Before his appointment as consular agent here, Isnardi was a traveling book agent. H represented an Italian publishing house and sold his books for $10 each. His home was then in Pueblo, Col. Isnardi was in Kansas City when the question of a vice consul arose.
Isnardi went immediately to Chicago. Count Rozwadowski and he had known each other in Italy. Against the protests of a committee of Kansas City Italians, who wanted a man from here appointed, Isnardi returned two weeks after the dismissal of Lancereri with the commission of consular agent. His appointment, though recommended by the consul at Chicago, was made directly by the foreign minister at Rome.
The consular agent is an American citizen. A consul general, however, must be a subject of the king. This being the case, as an American citizen, the Italians here think that Isnardi can be prosecuted under the laws of this state, in case the funds are not intact. The consul general, under the extra-territorial provision of international law, is immune from arrest and prosecution in the country where he represents his government.
PROSECUTOR WILL ACT.
"I will thoroughly investigate these charges," said Virgil Conkling, prosecuting attorney, last night. "If I find that consular agents are amenable to the laws of this state, Isnardi will probably be arrested and prosecuted."
A dozen complaints have been made the past two months at the prosecuting attorney's office against the consular agent. Isnardi was charged with taking money from Italians to send to the bank at Rome, and appropriating it to his own use. Two weeks ago today the consular agent was called to the prosecutor's office. There he was told that if he did not refund $800 to an Italian who gave him the money for deposit, that criminal action for embezzlement would be begun. He was given until March 1 to refund the money.
Isnardi left Kansas City January 16. His wife said yesterday he had gone to Chicago, but reports from that city say he has not been seen by the consul general. Mrs. Isnardi has been conducting the business since her husband left.
When the news that the office had been closed spread among the Italians in the North End a crowd of 200 m en and women, most of them depositors in the consular agent's private bank, gathered in front of Isnardi's office. At dark the crowd dispersed. when the door to the office would rattle a dog's bark could be heard. The dog had been turned loose in the office to prevent the angry foreigners from making a forcible entrance.
"What will you do if he does come back?" was asked one in the crowd.
"String him up," was the prompt answer of an Americanized Italian.
Labels: banking, Chicago, embezzlement, federal court, Fifth street, immigrants, newspapers, Prosecutor Conkling
May 5, 1909
PRISONER BETRAYED FRIEND.
When Minnesota Sheriff Went for
Food, Alleged Forger Decamped.
Because he was obliging and left his supposedly ill prisoner alone while he went to get him some tea and toast, Henry Terhaar, sheriff of Jackson county, Minn., lost Dr. Frank Hanson, whom he was taking to Minnesota from Colorado Springs to answer to a charge of forgery.
Sheriff Terhaar arrived in Kansas City with Hanson Monday afternoon. As Hanson had complained of illness before the train reached Kansas city, Terhaar took him to the Blossom house, engaged a room on the fifth floor and sent for a physician. Yesterday noon Hanson declared he was unable to arise. It was then that Terhaar went for food. When he returned Hanson had decamped.
Patrolman John Coughlin, stationed at the Union depot, after being shown a photograph of Hanson, declared that a man answering his description had boarded the Santa Fe train at 12:15 o'clock.
Hanson was the family physician of Sheriff Terhaar and the two men were friends. He is wanted on charges of forgery and embezzlement, the amount involved being about $8,000.
Labels: Blossom house, embezzlement, forgery, hotels, missing, police, Union depot, visitors
September 19, 1908
EMBEZZLEMENT THE CHARGE.
Took Four Policemen to Arrest Two
Greeks Wanted in Chicago.
Nicholas Antonopolus and James Anton, Greeks, were arrested yesterday afternoon by Detectives Gent and Wilson and Patrolmen M. Sheehan and Peter Douglas and taken to the Southwest boulevard police station and locked up for investigation. The men are wanted in Chicago, where they are alleged to have embezzled various amounts from creditors. The largest debt is for $600. The police say they were in the grocery business in Chicago until a week ago, when they came to this city and engaged rooms at 1310 West Twenty-fifth street. Requisition papers have been applied for.
Labels: Chicago, detectives, embezzlement, immigrants, police, Southwest boulevard, Twenty-fifth street, visitors
July 23, 1908
WEST BOTTOMS PEOPLE HEAVY
LOSERS IN NEW YORK FAILURE.
They Had Forwarded as Much as
$300,000 Through the Concern,
None of Which Reached
People at Home.
Affidavits showing that foreign residents of the West Bottoms had entrusted $300,000 and lost it in the Croatian bank, operated by Frank Zotti & Co. of New York, were sent yesterday morning to the district attorney thre by Father M. D. Krmpotic of St. John's Croatian Catholic church, Fourth street and Barnett avenue, Kansas City, Kas.
The Frank Zotti & Co. bankers handled money for the Croatians and other Austrian peoples in the United States who had friends in the old country to whom they regularly remitted at the week ends. When the company closed doors last week, it is alleged that the books showed no instance where the money had been remitted further than the bank. The total deficit amounted to over $1,000,000, affecting many thousand Croatians all over the country, a it is a comon custom with them to send part of their weekly wages to Austria.
"I am representing my countrymen to the best of my ability in this very important matter," said Father Krmpotic last evening. "Some of them are, of course, very ignorant of our banking system and when they received letters from the old co untry telling of hte failure to receive needed money, they thought the remitance had been lost somehow in the mails, and never distrusted the bank.
"I know many Croatians here who are out as much as $4,000. Not only are they suffering from the loss of this money, but relatives in Austria, who were in very bad circumstances, are still suferring. Many of them plunged deeply in debt, thinking the money would finally reach them in a budget accompanied by an apology from a mail clerk somewhere along the route."
Father Krmpotic is teacher, doctor and interpreter as well as Catholic priest to his countrymen in the West Bottoms. He is highly respected by them in his diverse capacities.
Labels: banking, Croatians, embezzlement, immigrants, Kansas City Kas, ministers, New York, West bottoms
February 4, 1908
HE DOUBTS WALLACE'S MERCY.
Justice Young Hesitates About Send-
ing Case to Criminal Judge.
In endeavoring to save Herman P. Brumfield, 20 years old, from a prospective term in the penitentiary, Justice John B. Young yesterday refused to bind the young man over to the criminal court on his admission of having embezzled $60 from the Home Telephone Company. Brumfield had paid the money back and apparently expected this fact to absolve him from prosecution. The company chose to push the matter.
Brumfield's lawyers set forth that if the prisoner were held to the criminal court, inasmuch as he had made a confession in writing, he could not be saved from the penitentiary. They asked that he be allowed to plead guilty to a misdermeanor, but the prosecution declined this offer.
"If it is a case for leniency," said the prosecution, "put it up to Judge Wallace and let him be the judge of that."
"But I can't tell about the quality of Judge Wallace's mercy," answered Justice Young, "and I'm going to take this case under advisement for a week."
Brumfield was a collector for the telephone company and the money was taken in small sums, at various times, for a period of two months.
Labels: embezzlement, Judge Wallace, Judges, telephone
April 23, 1907
GOLD THIEF GOES TO PRISON.
Alexis S. Roberts Drew Salary Even
After He Was Discharged.
Alexis S. Roberts, 23 years old, who successfully posed for a year as William McCloud Raney, the author, in the meantime defrauding the Keeton-Williams Gold Company out of $1,500 of dental gold, pleaded guilty of a charge of grand larceny in the criminal court yesterday afternoon, and was sentence to two years in the penitentiary by Judge Wallace. At one time Roberts took a piece of gold weighing two and a half ounces from the firm, it is said, and drew a salary as an employe in the laboratory two weeks after his theft became known.
Labels: con artist, criminal court, embezzlement, Judge Wallace
April 7, 1907
POSED AS AUTHOR
A. S. ROBERTS ACCUSED BY HIS
EMPLOYERS OF THEFT.
GOLD VANISHED IN LUMPS
DREW HIS SALARY EVEN AFTER
Posing as William McCloud Raney,
Roberts Obtained Position With
Keaton-Williams Gold Com-
pany -- Roberts Says He
A. S. ROBERTS.
Who Pretended to Be William McCloud
Raney, the Short Story Writer.
To pose for a year as William McCloud Raney, the author, his employers congratulated themselves upon securing the services of such an able writer and competent employe, who under the cognomen succeeded in defrauding the firm of the Keaton-Williams Gold Company out of $1500 worth of pure dental gold; finally to draw salary secretly for two weeks after his identity became known to the company, is said to be the record of Alexis S. Roberts, the young man who is now in a cell in the county jail awaiting trial on the charge of embezzlement. He was arrested at St. Louis a few days ago on a description set out by the Pinkerton detective agency and brought back to this city for trial.
In his cell yesterday young Roberts, who is only 23 years old, admitted he had deceived his employers by posing as Raney, the author, but says that his real name became known to the company before he left its employ. He admitted that he appropriated a large amount of gold and sold it to local dentists, but says that he had a final settlement with his employers before he left the city. His father, David Roberts, was secretary of the company, and according to his statement, his father assigned his years' salary to the company as partial payment of his shortage, and that he gave the company $500 in cash and signed a promissory note in the sum of $500, payable in one year, bearing interest at 8 per cent. He says that he thought that his troubles were all settled.
Roberts was brought back from St. Louis Friday by detectives and arraigned before Justice Shoemaker. His preliminary hearing was set for next Thursday at 2 o'clock and he was committed to jail in default of $1000 bond.
He began to pose as Raney, the author, two weeks after going to work for the dental gold manufacturers. At that time he showed his employers a forged letter from a publishers' syndicate, addressing him as William McCloud Raney, complimenting his last story and mentioning an enclosure of $150. The letter stated that a story of similar value could be used each week.
Then Roberts began to spend money -- and the money end of the then-new firm began to ask the partner who conducted the laboratory, where the promised profits were to commence showing up. The laboratory man declared his process should be paying, but he could not explain where the gold was going. There was trouble in the firm, and Keaton, who owned the process, several times in despair, deserted his partner, Williams; then he would come back to try to demonstrate that the process paid. Now they both remember that three days after Roberts went to work, a lump of gold weighing about 2 1/2 ounces disappeared and the new employe, convinced both that there had been only four lumps where there were five.
Roberts' father, David Roberts, a Canadian like Mr. Roberts, who financed the firm, had been made secretary of the company. Anytime one of the Raney stories came out in one of the well-known magazines or in the syndicated papers, there was rejoicing among all who were acquainted with the young wizard, who assisted in the laboratory. Two of his sisters arrived from Grand Junction, Col., and smothered him with congratulations on his latest success, "The Robbers' Roost." Out on Troost avenue, where the Williamses lived, there was some discussion as to whether Raney's "Girl from Salt Lake," published in the Red Book, was or was not better than "The Automobile Holdup," with 101 Ranch for its scene.
Meanwhile, Mr. Williams' 999.9 pure gold, costing $21 an ounce at the Philadelphia mint, was being peddled around Kansas City at $19 per ounce, when dentists and jewelers ordinarily used gold only about half as fine. Every month for more than a year Roberts, it is alleged, personally supplied certain customers, and representing himself to be a member of the firm, did his own collecting.
One day the pseudo-author, in the presence of the firm, nonchalantly offered to write his father a check for $1000 to pay off some indebtedness. This was not thought unreasonable, as the Raney stories, coming out regularly, were supposed to be netting him $750 a month.
Finally Mr. Williams, attempting to collect a book account of several months' standing, says he found that Roberts had receipted the customers' bills monthly. Then, for the first time, Williams realized that his partner was not to blame for wasting gold. The Pinkertons were put on Roberts' track. They found at once where about $1000 worth of gold had been sold. Roberts was confronted and it is claimed confessed to each separate transaction he was charged with, but would volunteer no additional confessions, thought it is said now that about $3,200 worth of gold has disappeared.
Williams, whose pocketbook had suffered, caused the young man to report to the Pinkertons each day at 11 o'clock, and in the office and laboratory his absence was supposed to be due to sickness. Twice on payday, however, he is said to have entered the office in Williams' absence and drew his weekly pay.
"Those two weeks pay," said Williams yesterday, "made about the bitterest part of the dose I swallowed, for I was being generous and lenient with him at the time and thought the boy was frightened."
Working hard to see if he could recover any part of his loss, Williams was one day surprised by a payment of $500 from Roberts. This, it was learned later, he had borrowed from his brother-in-law, a merchant in Austin, Mo.
Under the surveillance of the Pinkertons, Roberts works a week at a time in several places, at last coming to Williams with the complaint that his record being known here made it hard to keep employment in Kansas City. He wanted to go to St. Louis, his home. This he was allowed to do, reporting regularly to the Pinkerton agency in St. Louis.
Mr. Williams says that Roberts failed to keep his promises and the authorities of St. Louis were asked to arrest him. His wife is in St. Louis.
Roberts had been graduated from the Christian Brothers college in St. Louis only shortly before coming to Kansas City. His father resigned his position with the Keaton-Williams' company, when the trouble came out last November. He has since gone to Ogden, Utah.
Labels: business, con artist, crime, detectives, embezzlement, jail, Judge Shoemaker, St Louis, Troost avenue
February 1, 1907
ACCUSED OF EMBEZZLEMENT.
Ambrose Gallagher Brought Back
From Buffalo to Face Charge.
Detective Joseph Keshlear arrived here last night at 9:30 o'clock with Ambrose Gallagher, a prisoner for whom he went to Buffalo, N. Y. Gallagher is charged with embezlement. The complaint is sworn to by J. H. Lyman, general agent of the Chicago Great Western railway, and alleges that Gallagher stole $200 from that company in January, 1906, wile acting as cashier in their freight office at Seventh and Hickory streets. In telling of his travels after leaving here Gallagher said:
"I went straight to Omaha, Neb., from here on January 28, 1906, the day I left. After staying there a few days I went to Chicago where I found greater latitude for spending money. When the money was all gone I went ot Buffalo, N. Y., got a job right off with the New York Central about the middle of February and have been there ever since."
The prisoner says that he was bonded with a surety company and that he presumed it was the surety company which caused his arrest and will prosecute him.
Gallagher's wife, whom he has not seen since he left here, was at the police station Monday asking when he would be returned. He said he thought his wife was with "the folks in Kansas." Gallagher probably will be arraigned before a justice today.
Labels: crime, detectives, embezzlement, Hickory street, Omaha, railroad, Seventh street
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