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Tag Archives: Fraud

Crime Poems: “That Notorious Cheat”

Crime Poems: “That Notorious Cheat” In June 1761, Jeremiah Dexter of Walpole, MA was caught trying to pass counterfeit dollars of his own making. As punishment, Dexter was forced on September 10 to stand in the pillory for one hour and pay a fine of 20 pounds. Among the crowd who showed up that day […]

The American Malefactor’s Dictionary: boot-leg and boot-leg plan

boot-leg – 1. coffee or, more precisely, alleged coffee, served in prison; 2. illicit liquor (a witty play on the former definition). boot-leg plan – a set up based on trickery or evasion, in reference to the saying, “the boot is on the other leg,” i.e., not as someone would normally understand something. Use of […]

The American Malefactor’s Dictionary: baptized

Image by Steffe via Flickr baptized – a description for liquor that has been watered down. Sources Matsell, George W. Vocabulum: Or, the Rogue’s Lexicon.. New York: George W. Matsell, 1859. Note: See “Cant: The Language of the Underworld” to learn more about the background of the American Malefactor’s Dictionary.

The American Malefactor’s Dictionary: backer

backer – the person who supplies the genuine dollar bills that are shown to a prospective victim in a greengoods con-game. The greengoods con-game entails the sale of a large quantity of counterfeit money at a steep discount from its face value. In a show of demonstrating the high quality of the counterfeit bills to […]

Early American Criminals: William Linsey and the Telltale Candle

Even though William Linsey was orphaned at a young age, this rough start did not appear to have any negative impact on him. Linsey was originally born in Palmer, MA in 1746, but at the age of two he went to live with Phinehas Mixture in Dudley, MA. By Linsey’s own account, Mixture raised him […]

The American Malefactor’s Dictionary: ambush

ambush – fraudulent weights and measures used by grocers, coal-dealers, etc. The term is a pun on the formal definition of the word: to lie in wait (lying weight). Sources: Barrère, Albert and Charles G. Leland. A Dictionary of Slang, Jargon, and Cant. [London]: The Ballantyne Press, 1889. Partridge, Eric. A Dictionary of the Underworld. […]