Driven By Misfortune

Schwartz, W. B. - 1906-05-22 #3DRIVEN BY MISFORTUNE

Indianapolis Lawyer Takes to Making Bogus Coins

Counterfeiter Arrested and Confesses He Did it Because of Poverty.

William B. Schwartz Was Unable to Support HIs Family From His Practice and Started Counterfeiting – – – Carried on the Work for Several Years.

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind., Mary 21 – Unable to support two grown daughters and an insane wife by his profession as a lawyer, William B. Schwartz, a member of the Indianapolis bar, admitted to secret service officials this afternoon that he had been forced to make counterfeit half dollars to add to his income.

Schwartz was arrested in his office by Captain Thomas E. Hails, chief of the secret service department, and Merrill E. Wilson, chief deputy United States marshal. Some of the most perfect imitations of half dollars ever found in Indianapolis were discovered in Schwartz’s office, where he finished his output after making the preliminary molds at his home, 419 Grace street.

There was little difficulty in getting Schwartz to admit his guilt. He has been under surveillance almost a year and it is believed he has been making coin nearly two years. Brass molds were used in manufacturing the rough coins, which were composed generally of babbitt metal. These molds or dies were used in Schwartz’s home and after the rough coins were prepared they were taken to his office and finished in an electric battery. One half dollar being “finished” was found in the battery after Schwartz’s arrest by Detective Manning, acting captain of the city detective department, who had been the first to suspect Schwartz.

Officers who made the arrest do not believe that Schwartz passed any great amount of the “queer” in Indianapolis Ind, that he sold his output to an organized gang.

When arrested Schwartz told a tale of poverty and the struggle for existence he has had for the last few years. He is scarcely forty years old and until a few years ago earned a fair compensation from his practice. His wife’s mind became affected, however, and after spending large sums for medical attention, it was necessary to place her in an asylum.

Left with two daughters to support and his practice rapidly decreasing, Schwartz said he knew not from one day’s end to the other where the next day’s meals were coming from.

“Then it was that I got into this business,” he said in conclusion.

“Driven By Misfortune,” The Fort Wayne Journal (Fort Wayne, Indiana), 22 May 1906, p. 1, col. 1; digital image, Newspaper Archive (http://www.newspaper : accessed 3 April 2014).

3 thoughts on “Driven By Misfortune

  1. davidmadison1942

    Yes, he really was caught between a rock and a hard place. This was a bit of a shocker: “he sold his output to an organized gang.” Who knew? But I led a very sheltered life in a little town.

    I agree….it’s a great article. Yes, Schwartz could be your first novel, Deb !!


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