September 24, 2008

"Bunko Business"...

Bunko Business

Two Gangs of Confidence Men Working
the Traveling Public in Denver

Denver seems to be peculiarly the chosen field for bunko men. Scores of credulous travelers are swindled every week out of sums greater or less in amount, who make no sign, the sentiment of shame over the result of their verdancy making them pocket their losses with what grace they can. Certainly for every ten cases of impudent fraud of this kind scarcely one is reported ... The business is regularly organized by some accomplished leader with from three to five assistants, who work the traveling community for all it is worth ... At present there are two gangs working the town and, from all accounts to considerable profit. Some of the schemes are magnificent in their conception and results, others consist in swindling the unwary with bogus railroad tickets, at so-called ticket broker offices or at employment offices, filching from the poor railroad laborer the last $2 he has to his name on the pretext of obtaining for him employment which never comes...

It is very rarely that any one of either of the classes of confidence men is brought to justice ... That all of these confidence dens are well-known to the police goes without saying. Why they are allowed to exist is a conundrum which all good citizens would like answered.

Rocky Mountain News, April 19, 1884.

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