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Author Topic: Gambling & Stecher 1920
Steve Yohe
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FREMONT EVENING TRIBUNE
TUESDAY, FEB. 3, 1920

STECHER SYNDICATE MADE A CLEANING
SPORTMEN TOOK $30,000 FROM CADDOCK BACKERS

A syndicate of sports who have been backing Joe Stecher in matches of the last few years made a big killing on the Stecher-Caddock bout in New York last Friday, according to word that is being passed around. This syndicate is composed of five admirers in Dodge and Cuming counties.

According to information that has leaked out the syndicate sent to Iowa where Caddock stock was away above par. Upwards of $30,000 is said to have been placed at even on the outcome of the match which Stecher won. On other matches in which Stecher was one of the principals the syndicate has “covered” all the money to be found and of course have collected most of the time for Joe has been winning with regularity.

Joe shares in the pool of the syndicate, getting 20 per cent of the gross amount and then a share of what is left.

Stecher is now on a trip throught the eastern states that will keep him busy for a month or more. He has several matches scheduled along the Atlantic coast. He is accompanied by Mrs. Stecher and brother Tony.

[ 11-15-2004, 06:34 AM: Message edited by: Steve Yohe ]

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Zog
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Really interesting article, Steve...thanks for putting it up.

This begs a question that I'm not sure I've ever seen asked before. At some point shortly after this, the wrestling business moved from contests to worked performances. Were gamblers kept in the loop, or did they get stuck making bets on matches that weren't what they thought they were? Did any outfits try to put muscle on wrestlers and promoters to make things back into legitimate, wagerable contests?

--------------------
"A man needs a motive to play poker. For me, it's money." -- Doyle Brunson

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Tomer Chen
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quote:
Originally posted by Zog:
Really interesting article, Steve...thanks for putting it up.

This begs a question that I'm not sure I've ever seen asked before. At some point shortly after this, the wrestling business moved from contests to worked performances. Were gamblers kept in the loop, or did they get stuck making bets on matches that weren't what they thought they were? Did any outfits try to put muscle on wrestlers and promoters to make things back into legitimate, wagerable contests?

There have been articles found, dating back to the mid 1800s (I think one or two are even in this forum) showing that there was 'fakery' in Professional Wrestling since the mid 1800s, and the allegations that it was real until the 1920s with Ed "Strangler" Lewis was false. There may have been specific instances where a contest may have occured (or someone was shot on), but it seems highly unlikely that the actual Professional Wrestling industry as a whole was not predetermined since the days of Muldoon & Burns.

-Tomer

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Crimson Mask I
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Yeah, but assuming the article is true, that just drives us right back into the ongoing debate about that match. If the fix was in, one would assume Caddock himself had money down AGAINST himself.

I still say based on watching the match, I think it was a shoot.

So long from the Sunshine State!

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Zog
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quote:
Originally posted by Tomer Chen:
There have been articles found, dating back to the mid 1800s (I think one or two are even in this forum) showing that there was 'fakery' in Professional Wrestling since the mid 1800s, and the allegations that it was real until the 1920s with Ed "Strangler" Lewis was false. There may have been specific instances where a contest may have occured (or someone was shot on), but it seems highly unlikely that the actual Professional Wrestling industry as a whole was not predetermined since the days of Muldoon & Burns.

-Tomer

That makes it all the more intriguing to me, then. I was willing to work from the argument that wrestling was legit until the 1920s. My point was that gamblers around that time had to be told that they were losing a source of action, and therefore income, when the business went to performances rather than contests. The bookies I've met weren't ever happy that they couldn't take action, and I'm sure that the guys generations ago were many times rougher in expressing their unhappiness.

If we're saying that wrestling matches were "booked" (for lack of a better word) since the days of Muldoon & Burns, then you had gambling syndicates that were getting double-crossed for 40 years or more. I'm surprised that one or more people didn't end up dead as a result.

--------------------
"A man needs a motive to play poker. For me, it's money." -- Doyle Brunson

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jdw
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Crimson Mask I wrote:

> Yeah, but assuming the article is true, that
> just drives us right back into the ongoing
> debate about that match. If the fix was in,
> one would assume Caddock himself had money
> down AGAINST himself.

That was the point of ripping off the gambling marks - the two wrestlers doing the dance and going with a finish that let them fleece the cash.

You don't think Joe & Tony didn't have money against Joe on 04/09/17? Or Jenkins didn't have money against himself when they fleeced the hometown crowd back in 1905?

> I still say based on watching the match, I
> think it was a shoot.

Yohe and I disagree with you on this one, even based on watching the match.

John

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jdw
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Zog wrote:

> If we're saying that wrestling matches
> were "booked" (for lack of a better word)
> since the days of Muldoon & Burns, then you
> had gambling syndicates that were getting
> double-crossed for 40 years or more.

The "syndicates" weren't getting double crossed. The "marks" were getting double crossed of the money they were laying down.

John

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Steve Yohe
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Ok--Here it goes again:

Before 1925, there were few arenas, meeting halls, or buildings that held more than 2,000 people. A few in big cities held 5,000 to 7,000. MSG was the biggest & it held 9,000. Shows bigger than that were held outside. Tickets cost 65 cents to $1. Maybe $2 at the most. Muldoon was a rich man & the others lived well.

Gambling was sports. It affected all sports & even today you can see it's influence in the Pete Rose case. A world series was rigged during this period & the paper was filled with other scandals. Wrestlers incomes came from gambling not purses or attendance. The first wrestler popular enough to base his income on attendance was Frank Gotch & that was after his career had matured.

Wrestling's nature is to be worked. Pro wrestlers work matches. It's been worked or rigged sense the mid-1800...at least..or maybe longer. Shoots happened in matches with no risk or money on the line. In back woods...bars...some carnivals...and farms, you would see shoots. But true pros ate those guys up & made money off them. On the higher levels...with two pros...it was worked. Nothing was left to chance. The idea was to make money. When your hungry, you do not care who can pins who. Marks worry about that stuff. Ego plays no part with a true pro.

They work matches to rip off the people who bet. True gamblers were in on the rip-off, its was the stupid who got taken. These people were not street smart...they were farmers, common people who wanted to prove they knew something. True gamblers didn't bet on wrestling unless they knew something or someone looking to get taken. These people were called "marks". A gambling & wrestling term.

All you have to do is look in the newspapers of the time. The older the report, the more likely wrestling will be exposed. They didn't always spell it out, but you get the point. By the 1920s it was like beating a dead horse. The common public has always known wrestling was fixed...when you were a kid...now...and then. It's just that you get caught up in it & forget. I guess there are just stupid people too.

By the teens & the early 20's, the authorities came down hard on sports gambling. Papers are filled with stories of 30 people at a baseball game busted for betting. Read your baseball & boxing histories! Wrestling never truly got catch (well Jim Londos, the biggest star in wrestling history, did get busted at one point) because they knew what they were doing was illegal & changed. With the pro-sport build up in the 1920s, new larger arenas were build. Wrestling evolved into a sport based on attendance & the style of wrestling changed to attracted casual fans, who didn't care about contests, but wanted a good time. So styles changed. Wrestling didn't have to look real anymore, because they weren't using the gambling gimmick. They needed to entertain. But it was always planed to be worked on the pro level. Yes things could go wrong (Ali/Inoki, Munn/Zbyszko, Shikat/O'Mahoney etc.), but it wasn't planed to be that way.---Steve Yohe

[ 03-21-2004, 01:11 AM: Message edited by: Steve Yohe ]

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Steve Yohe
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I'm sorry I keep going over this same stuff. I've been making these gambling posts for a long time but as I keep going thru old info I see nothing that make me think this theory is wrong. Everything I read backs up this & the other posts.

The above newspaper clip is funny because I don't think the small town reporter knew he was letting the cat out of the bag & saw nothing wrong.

"20 per cent of the gross amount and then a share of what is left." Gross & what's left? Anyone see something wrong with that statment? Funny.--Yohe

[ 02-26-2004, 10:13 PM: Message edited by: Steve Yohe ]

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Steve Yohe
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What is Stecher doing for these people that intitles him to 20%? You don't have to pay a wrestler to make bets unless he performs some service in return. Guess they were just good guys. Fanboys.--Yohe
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Steve Yohe
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YOHE: JMK sent me this today. I think this is a good spot for it. Joe Carroll was one of Frank Gotch's managers in his early career & part of the Farmer Burns group. Some of this was covered in the Curley Bio. Hope this prints well as a post??

JMK:
The following bits and pieces include fairly detailed accounts of the Mabray
gang "fixes," which represented America's most mammoth sports fraud prior to
the tossing of the 1919 World Series, and from which a great deal of vitriol
toward professional wrestling -- particularly in the media -- had its
origin.

WRESTLING MATCH AT WACO
(Special to Wichita Times, Wichita Falls TX, September 10, 1908)

Council Bluffs IA: September 23, 1909
U.S. postal authorities indict wrestling figures Joe Carroll (aka Ole Marsh,
J.C. Marsh) and Bert Warner (aka Bert Shores, Bert Thomas and Billy
Maynard), plus 82 others, on charges of using the mail to fix sporting
events. Carroll is indicted as George Marsh and, when sentenced to prison on
these charges, will be known as William Marsh. He was one of the early
managerial figures in the career of Frank Gotch and, upon release from
prison, would assume the role of wrestling "trustbuster" for many years. The
next night, in Seattle WA, Carroll/Marsh and Warner, who will be sentenced
under the name "Bert Shores," are involved, along with promoter Jack Curley
and Dr. B.F. Roller, in an incident at a wrestling show which will
effectively "kill the game" for more than 20 years in Seattle.
++++

MABRAY'S PAL, DOBBINS, GUILTY
(Greene IA Recorder, December 8, 1909)

John R. Dobbins, steerer, alleged "pal" of J.C. Mabray, and accused of
helping "milk" T.W. Ballew, of Princeton, one of the famous "Mikes," of
$30,000 by means of a fake horse race at Council Bluffs, was found guilty by
the jury. The maximum penalty for the offense is five years' imprisonment.

Dobbins is the first one of the Mabray gang to be brought to trial.
Inspector Swenson, who ran the gang to earth and caused the arrest of all
the accused men, is delighted at the outcome of the first hearing.

The other cases are scheduled for hearings this month.

ALLEGED SWINDLERS FACE TRIAL
(Staff special, Fort Wayne IN News, December 18, 1909)

DES MOINES, Ia. -- J.C. Mabray, the alleged king of a band of swindlers who
operated in all the principal cities of the United States, will face trial
here in the very near future.

John R. Dobbins, one of the leaders in the alleged swindling syndicate,
which is said to have prompted fake sporting events in various parts of the
country, has been convicted on a charge of conspiracy in the state court in
Council Bluffs, Ia. He will be sentenced to an indeterminate period of five
years in the penitentiary at Anamosa, Ia. Dobbins is also under indictment
in the federal court and should he escape from the clutches of the state
authorities on any technicality he must answer to the government.

With the disposal of the Dobbins case will come the trial of J.C. Mabray in
the federal court in Council Bluffs. Mabray is said to be the peer of all
swindlers and the real leader of the eighty-nine other men in various parts
of the country who were indicted with him. When he is placed on trial the
gang's real fight will commence, for it has an unlimited amount of money to
work with. Should Mabray or any of his pals secure their freedom in the
federal court in Council Bluffs, they must answer to an indictment by the
state grand jury in Omaha, and to indictments by the federal grand jury in
Kansas and Arkansas.
++++

STOP WRESTLING MATCH
(Texas News Service Special, Wichita Times, Wichita Falls TX, Friday, Feb.
25, 1910)

WACO, Tex. -- A delegation of ministers representing all denominations
headed by Rabbi Isaac Waraw appeared before the city commission today
requesting the commission to prohibit the wrestling match next Tuesday
between Mrs. Pons of Canada and Vincent Nicosia of this city. The commission
authorized Mayor Baker to prepare an ordinance that forbids the exhibition,
and to stop it.
++++

MABRAY CASE WITNESS TELLS OF FAKE WRESTLING MATCHES
(Wire story, Washington DC Post, March 11, 1910)

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa, Mar. 10 -- Testimony by four government witnesses was
given today in the case of John C. Mabray and others, charged with
conspiracy to defraud by unlawful use of the United States mails in
promoting betting on fake sporting events. The witnesses were Thomas Gay,
indicted with Mabray but who turned government witness, James Coon, of
Owosso, Mich., and Ernest Fenby, a professional wrestler of Shepard, Mich.,
and C.A. Nelson, a victim of the swindling operations.

Details of the alleged operations of Mabray and his associates, known as the
Millionaires' Club, in New Orleans, Denver, and Council Bluffs, were told
with frankness. The sporting events, carried through by the "club,"
according to the witnesses, were so well planned that there was not a chance
for the victims to escape. Losses ran from $2,000 to $37,000, according to
the ability and willingness of the victim to contribute to the fraud, and
aggregated several hundred thousand dollars.

Thomas Gay testified that he first met Mabray in New Orleans. Mabray was
then associated with R.B. Harriman and Frank W. Brown, who are now fighting
extradition in Los Angeles. Gay lived at Streator, Ill, where he had been a
professional wrestler. He said that he induced James Tierney, of Streator,
to go to New Orleans and bet on a wrestling match in January, 1908. Tierney
lost $10,000 of which Gay received $2,500. He also told of being one of the
wrestlers in a match in which a lumberman of St. Paul lost $2,500.

Ernest Fenby, who was defeated at Boston a few nights ago by Zbyszko,
testified that he received letters from Council Bluffs written by Mabray,
giving him information on fixed wrestling matches and horse races. He, with
James Coon, a neighbor, interested three friends who lost $14,000 on
wrestling matches.

He explained how a bladder full of blood was caused to burst in his
opponent's mouth at a critical moment. Then the latter would roll over and
assume a diving condition. This was the ruse to break up the match. Then
everybody scattered to prevent arrest. Fenby testified to having worked this
trick three times.

Coon later went on the stand and confirmed Fenby's testimony. Coon is
employed by a beet sugar company at Owosso, Mich. He said he was first asked
to become an accomplice while husking corn near Alma, Mich.

Nelson, a farmer living at Alma, Mich., was a victim to the extent of
$3,000. He told how it all happened. He started out for "a bit of sport" and
ended up without a cent. A "steerer" then gave him a ticket for home.
++++

$9,000 LOST ON FAKE RACES
(Wire story, Washington DC Post, March 12, 1910)

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Ia., Mar. 11 -- The government today continued to introduce
evidence against John C. Mabray and his eighteen alleged associates, who are
on trial before United States Judge Smith McPherson for alleged conspiracy
to defraud by means of illegal use of the mails in promoting fixed sporting
events.

J.H. Secrest, 55 years old, a retired farmer of Iowa City, Iowa, gave an
account of his experiences with the defendants. He first lost $3,000 to the
Millionaires' Club, but still satisfied with the honesty of the promoters,
returned from New Orleans to his Iowa home and procured $6,000 more, which
he lost. Both sums went into pools on fixed horse races.

The first race was lost because the jockey on the "sure winner" had a fit
and fell from the horse. The men who enticed him to put up the $3,000 said
it was not fair to take the money and said that if he would put up $7,500
forfeit they would give him another chance in a week. He wanted his $3,000
back, so he went home and raised $6,000 and one of the steerers made up the
rest of the forfeit. Another race was arranged, and Secrest kept the betting
sheet. Nearly $50,000 was bet on that race, and Secret's $6,000 was in the p
ool.

The jockey had another accident and feigned that he was dead. Secrest
thought he was. One of the promoters of the pool told Secrest they all would
be arrested. Secrest, frightened, returned home.

Secrest pointed out Mabray as one of the "millionaires." He also produced
several letters which he testified were received from Mabray's associates.

Secrest's testimony was only one of several similar stories told during the
day. Samuel Suter, of Cass Lake, Minn., explained his loss of $5,000, and
Alexander Delaine, of Green Bay, Wis., told of losing $2,500. Zachariah
Pierpont, of Pawnee, Okla., lost $3,000 on a fixed wrestling match.
++++

ROBBED OF ROLLS IN MAD SCRAMBLE FOR 'EASY' MONEY
(Wire story, Atlanta GA Constitution, March 15, 1910)

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Ia., Mar. 14 -- Emmet Tinley, general counsel for J.C.
Mabray and his associates in the United States, where they are charged with
wholesale swindling by the fraudulent use of the mails, today put government
witnesses through the most, severe gruelling they have had, and in each case
where a victim testified to his losses, brought out admissions that witness
intended to gain by his operations, and that he went to the headquarters of
the "millionaires" with the avowed purpose of making some "easy money."

Incidentally, the government today located another "store" of the
defendants, Wilkes-Barre, Pa., where at least one victim lost $13,000 on
wrestling matches. Victims from Terre Haute, Ind.,; Aurora, Ill.; Argyle,
Iowa; Polk City, Iowa, and St. Louis told of losses which totaled about
$30,000.

Fred S. Mull and James Morrison were dismissed, because, as district
attorney Temple later stated, the government was unable to secure the
attendance of witnesses in their cases who were in Canada.

A.B.D. Grande, a merchant of Grinnell, Iowa, identified several letters
exchanged with the defendants when they solicited his presence at a sporting
event in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. Mr. Grande, however, declined to be victimized,
although he admitted they had asked him to furnish $10,000 for the proposed
match.

C.O. Newberry, of Argyle, Iowa, next testified to losing $13,000 in two
horse races at Wilkes-Barre. He told a story which in many respects was
similar to those recited by other victims, but closed with the statement
that he "thought they were such fine fellows, and showed me such a good
time, that I decided to pay my own expenses of $75, and did not ask them to
reimburse me. They all belonged to the church, and said they liked me. But
these boys actually fooled me, although I never made a 'holler.'"

E.G. Allspaugh, a merchant of Terre Haute, Ind., lost $1,600, according to
his testimony, but he admitted on cross-examination that he came to Council
Bluffs expectedting to make $10,000 on a "sure thing."

"You thoroughly understood this to be a fixed match?" asked attorney Tinley
for the defense.

"Yes, I understood it was a sure thing."

"It was with that understanding that you were induced to come here?"

"Yes, sir."

"You simply came to Council Bluffs believing you had a sure thing and by
personal solicitation, and not by reason of any letters that passed through
the mail?"

"That is right."

"Didn't you come here expecting to get $10,000 of someone else's money?"

"Yes, sir."

"You also came to assist two friends to secure $10,00 each on a sure thing?"

"Yes."

"You knew you were putting up sham money against the real money of those
other men?"

"Yes, sir."

William Burke, a St. Louis contractor, recited the loss of $5,000 on a prize
fight in New Orleans in which Harry Forbes, who lost to Attell in New York
ten days ago, was his fighter. Forbes was in the courtroom.

Burke wore a large diamond stud in his cravat and several diamond rings. He
identified Mabray as one of the "millionaires" and also letters which passed
between himself and some of the defendants.

On cross-examination, Burke said:

"I went down there to spend my money and made myself agreeable. We all
bought a round of drinks and there was plenty of good feeling.

"It looked crooked to me, but I have been taking chances all my life and I
thought I could take another. I bet my $5,000 and Forbes was hurt in the
second round. The millionaires' secretary, who was stakeholder, started for
a doctor and I never saw the secretary nor my money again. I packed my grip
and returned to St. Louis."

Several witnesses were recalled during the afternoon to identify letters and
supplement testimony they had already given.
++++

PRINCIPAL WITNESS IN MABRAY CASES TO TESTIFY TODAY
(Associated Press, Wichita Times, Wichita Falls TX, Wednesday, Mar. 16,
1910)

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Ia. -- Howard Simpson, the government's star witness in the
case of Mabray and his associates, charged with swindling, is expected to
take the stand today and the court room is crowded in anticipation. Counsel
for the government stated today that the prosecution might be concluded
Thursday.

T.E. George of San Antonio, Texas, testified that he was relieved of
thirty-eight thousand dollars in connection with the wrestling match at New
Orleans two years ago, in which one of the contestants apparently suffered a
serious hemorrhage in the second bout. He named Joseph Wright, now under
indictment, as the friend who led him into the affair.
++++

MORE VICTIMS TALK
(Wire story, Ada OK Evening News, March 16, 1910)

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Ia. -- Howard Simpson, a Spokane, Wash., real estate dealer,
furnished the sensation in the United States District Court today in the
trial of John C. Mabry and his associates, charged with fraudulent use of
the mails.

Considerable mystery surrounded the manner in which Simpson had secured the
volume of information he vouchsafed in the case. He indicated clearly,
however, that he had been in touch with the leading defendants in the case
for many years.

The government introduced and had admitted a directory of about 200 names of
men who are alleged to have been identified with Mabray. This directory was
taken from Mabry's effectws when he was arrested at Little Rock. Simpson
identified the handwriting of each person in the directory.

Col. Temple, prosecuting attorney, stated he considered Simpson's evidence
the strongest he had yet introduced.

An important witness was George Alberts of Sioux City, who testified to
having lost $2,000 on a wrestling match at Denver. Alberts admitted he had
been solicited to join the defendants in their business and identified a
"show letter" which he received from Bert Shores, a defendant, through the
mails. This letter is the first of its kind the prosecution has been able to
get into the record.

James Turner of Myersdale, Pa., lost $5,000 on a prize fight in Council
Bluffs, in which Clarence Forbes had been his fighter. Turner admitted he
had been a form Justice of the Peace in Cumberland, Md., and that he had
been concerned in a wire-tapping scheme in Chicago, when he first met
Forbes. He stated he had paid a telegraph operator $500 for his services in
this scheme.
++++

TRAVELED 3,000 MILES TO BE SWINDLED
(Wire story, Atlanta GA Constitution, March 18, 1910)

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Ia., Mar. 17 -- One witness for the defense is to be heard
Friday morning in the case of John C. Mabray and associates, after which
arguments will commence, both sides having finished their cases at tonight's
session of the federal district court.

Just before adjournment, John H. Sizer, a King William County, Virginia,
lumber merchant, testified to having traveled 3,000 miles to Los Angeles to
wager $8,500 on a horse race in which Willard Powell, one of the defendants,
was a jockey. Sizer declared Powell, who was his jockey, deliberately "took
me down the chutes and cleaned me for that eighty-five hundred.

"It was a tragic thing for me," he added, "and once it looked like I might
have to walk back to Virginia."
++++

SWINDLE GANG FOUND GUILTY
(Wire story, Elyria OH Evening Telegram, Monday, March 21, 1910)

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Ia. -- J.C. Mabray and 13 of his associates in the famous
gang of swindlers were found guilty here of conspiracy to use the United
States mail to defraud and they were sentenced to the federal prison at Fort
Leavenworth. Mabray and nine of his comrades have announced that there will
be no motion for new trials, but that they will take their punishment
without whimpering.

There yet remain 67 members of the gang to be tried and many of these will
be placed on trial in the federal court at Omaha in April. The prisoners
were accused of conducting a vast swindle game through the aid of fake prize
fights, fake wrestling matches, fake horse races and other confidence games.
Thirty of their victims testified to having lost $183,271 in the deals into
which they were inveigled. The government has the names of 168 additional
victims, many of whom will be on the witness stand at the Omaha trials.
++++

CELLS FOR SWINDLERS
(Wire story, Washington Post, March 21, 1910)

... The jurors disagreed as to Robert E.L. Goddard, of San Antonio.

... Judge Smith McPherson announced that the prisoners would be sentenced on
Monday. The defendants accepted the verdict without show of feeling, and
Mabray shook hands with several of the jurors. Mrs. Mabray broke down when
the verdict was read.

... Robert Goddard is under indictment in the Nebraska district of the
federal court, and will be tried again when other defendants are brought
into that court. All the defendants were locked up Saturday afternoon
immediately after the jury received its instructions. Twelve of them had
been on bond until that time.

With the conviction of these defendants the government believes it has
broken up the most monumental swindling combination which has ever operated.
Statistics have been gathered which show the receipts of the combination,
since its organization ten years ago, to have exceeded $5,000,000.

The success of the government in bringing the defendants to trial was
largely due to the capture, when Mabray was arrested, of a trunk found in
his home, which, it was later ascertained, contained a complete documentary
record of the transactions of the combination for a period of four years. A
loose leaf pocket ledger was one of the documents thus secured. It contained
the names and addresses of over 200 persons who had acted as go-betweens in
various transactions. They lived in nearly every state.

There were fourteen branches in various parts of the country, all operated
from one city. The headquarters was moved from time to time as the leaders
came under surveillance by the authorities.

Foot racing, wrestling, prize fighting, horse racing, and wire tapping were
the specialties offered victims on which to make "easy money." The victim
usually was first approached by an actual friend who had been previously
solicited by a regular "steerer," as he was known.

In most instances, representations were made that the "steerer" had a cousin
who was secretary to a coterie of men of great wealth, who were traveling
over the country for pleasre. The victim was told that this "secretary" was
angry at some ill-treatment and had undertaken to swindle his employers out
of a large sum of money. The victim was invited to assist, and when he
acccepted was in turn swindled on a sporting event which proved to be
"fixed" against him instead of in his favor.
++++

PROMOTERS FOUND GUILTY
(Wire story, Gettysburg PA Times, March 21, 1910)

... Those found guilty are John C. Mabray, Leon Lozier, Thom S. Robinson,
Willard Powell, Clarence Class, Edward Leach, Edward K. Morris (colored),
Clarence Forbes, Harry Forbes, Frank Scott, Ed McCoy, Winford S. Harris,
Bert R. Shores and William (Ole) Marsh.
++++

THE GANG SENTENCED
(Wire story, Ada OK Evening News, Tuesday, March 22, 1910)

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Ia. -- The maximum penalty of two years in the federal
penitentiary at Leavenworth and a fine of $10,000 was meted out to John C.
Mabray and nine others by Judge McPherson yesterday. They were convicted
Sunday of swindling by fraudulent use of the mails. The four other
defendants received less severe sentences.
++++

MABRAY AND SQUAD ARE GIVEN STIFF PENALTY
(Wire story, Weekly Sentinel, Fort Wayne IN, March 23, 1910)

... Bert Shores and Wm. March, who pleaded guilty, were sentenced to fifteen
months in the penitentiary and to pay a fine of $100 each.

Winfor S. Harris, who also pleaded guilty, and Frank Scott were sentenced to
six months in jail and fined $100 each.

Judge McPherson said Scott's sentence was reduced because he had already
been acquitted in the state court of the swindling charge. Attorneys for the
defense at once began preparing motions for a new trial.
++++

NOTED SWINDLER AND CLEVER ASSOCIATES BEGIN PRISON SENTENCE
(Wire story, Wichita Times, Wichita Falls TX, March 23, 1910)

LEAVENWORTH, Kan., Mar. 22 -- With the same unconcern that he evinced at his
trial, John C. Mabray, with eleven of his associates, entered the federal
prison here today. Mabray walked into the prison with the air of a sightseer
rather than a convict. None of the prisoners seemed depressed.
++++

BIGGEST SWINDLE ON RECORD
(New York Evening Post, reprinted in Washington DC Post, March 26, 1910)

... The "Millionaires Club" is something new in the world of crookedness. It
was very involved. Mabray based his hopes of profit upon natural cupidity,
and the envy engendered by the "Pittsburgh millionaire," a cognomen used to
designate the man who has more ability in spending than accumulating wealth.
So he formed, in his mind, a club of millionaires who were anxious and
willing to spend their money on wrestling matches, prize fights, horse
races, etc., and better than that, were willing to risk their money on their
favorites.

Then he gathered around him 80 or more choice spirits of types calculated to
interest men of all callings ... (then) he established headquarters in
Council Bluffs, with branch offices in Little Rock, New Orleans, Denver, San
Francisco, Los Angeles, Omaha and a number of other places, securing a
letter box in the local postoffices for the receipt of returns from his
agents.

... The usual method of procedure in the case of wrestling matches and prize
fights was to induce the victim to go to a place where the fight was to take
place, bringing a certain sum of money to aid in the plot. This was
necessaryk, for Mabray's assistant would have to have sufficient money to
cover that put up by the "millionaires," and they were only working on a
percentage with their victims, so they said. If the man was "easy," some
minor accident happened and he was told that it was a pity the fiasco had
occurred, but was soothed with the statement that the "millionaires" would
be all the more willing to put up larger sums on another match, so the poor
dupe went home and either mortgaged his property or borrowed from friends or
let one or two in on the venture and came back to the fray.

"With the more cautious man the money was generally taken on the first
trial. It depended largely upon the amount of money invested by the dupe.
The club never asked for less than $2,500, and the man who put in that
amount was generally induced to contribute more on another occasion.
Usually, however, the sum ran from $10,000 to as high as $37,000. When the
fight really came off and the victims were to lose their money, the man upon
whom they had placed their money would go into the contest with a bladder
filled with blood in his mouth, and at the critical time he would be hit or
would fall, burst the bladder with his teeth and roll over on the floor in
apparent agony, with blood pouring out of his mouth. The club members would
rush around a minute or two in fear, and then the heads would suggest to the
victim of the occasion that it would be wise to run for it, and take the
first train out of town, or all would be held for murder. It always worked,
and the man fled to his home minus his money, and generally frightened. When
he got home he would write to find out what haqd happened, and it was
correspondence of this kind which fell into the hands of the authorities and
gave them their witnesses.

... In one season the Council Bluffs headquarters collected $250,000, and
other offices in proportion. The highest amount secured from any one man, as
brought out in the trial, was $37,000 from J.E. Cavanaugh, of Oklahoma City,
although the district attorney in charge of the case has evidence to show
that a Canadian "investor" was relieved of $66,000, and an ex-public
prosecutor of Cook County, Ill, had yielded $55,000.

Many of the witnesses were shamefaced when they gave their testimony, and
others were hardened. The former felt their position keenly and gave their
evidence reluctantly, knowing full well the effect it would have upon the
inhabitants of their home town, and fearing their reception upon their
return. The others were apparently used to it. They had embarked upon their
speculation knowing the nature of it fully, and expecting to be smarter than
those who were engineering the deals, and when they lost they took their
medicine. They were willing to testify, however, and cared little for the
effects upon their friends or relatives. O.O. Newberry, of Argyle, Iowa,
described himself as a horseman of 40 years' standing. He smiled all through
his testimony. Speaking of a wrestling match, he said:

"We had it all framed up when I got to thinking it all over," said Newberry.
"I was 62 years old then, and that was the first time in my life that I was
mixed up in anything like that. I couldn't sleep nor eat. So the night 'fore
it was to come off, I got up at 12 o'clock and went down to the
'millionaires' private car. I was determined to stop it. I saw some one at
the depot that siad they wasn't in, so I had to give up. Ed Leach, that
defendant sitting over yonder, lost the wrestling match to Gorman, and my
money was lost. After the match, the millionaires got together and talked it
over.

"Then one of them comes to me and says, 'Old man, we like your style; you're
a fine fellow and we want to give you another chance. But you'll have to put
up $10,000 this time.

"They told me they liked my face and I told 'em I liked it myself.

"'We bar Farmer Burns or Gotch, but you can bring on a good wrestler all
right for the $10,000 go,' says one orf the 'millionaires.'

"We got a hold of a wrestler called 'the Greek Demon.' Maxwell he picked him
out.
"We got right back to Wilkes-Barre and got down to business.

"The Greek had it framed to me that it would be better for him to lose the
first fall.

"We don't lose any falls at all this time, I says. You see, I had $10,000 up
this time.

"But the Greek lost the first fall; then on the second he clapped Gorman
down hard.

"Burns, one of the millionaires, took out a gun as long as my arm and throws
it down on Gorman. 'You lose another fall and you're a dead one,' says
Burns. I seen right there that I'd either be out $10,000 or have a corpse on
my hands. When it was all over I wasn't trouble with any corpses or any
money, either."

"Now, how much did you lose?" asked assistant district attorney Stewart.

"Thirteen thousand and expenses."
++++

Council Bluffs IA: May 17, 1910
Judge Woodruff orders the removal of Chief of Police George H. Richmond, who
was accused of "remissness in his duties" during the operations of the
Mabray gang of swindlers.

JACK CARKEEK ARRESTED IN SAN FRANCISCO AS PART OF MABRAY GANG
(Stevens Point WI Journal, September 3, 1910)

Jack Carkeek, the wrestler, formerly a resident of Waupaca when employed as
a detective by the old Wisconsin Central Railway Co., has, according to a
dispatch from San Francisco, been arrested there under the name of John
Fletcher, as a member of the Mabray gang of swindlers, and turned over to
the federal authorities. Carkeek is alleged to have been the wrestler of the
gang, and to have taken part in fake matches that netted them thousands of
dollars.

Carkeek is almost as well known in Stevens Point as though he had made his
home here, having visited the city on a number of occasions for long
periods. He was at one time champion of the world at the Cornish style of
wrestling, though he was a good performer at catch-as-catch-can and
Graeco-Roman. A fit of illness caused him to retire from the mat during the
earlier part of his career and he was for many years in the employ of the
Wisconsin Central.

When Hali Adali, the giant Turk, invaded this country about a decade back,
Carkeek returned to the wrestling game and won a handicap match from the
Turk in Milwaukee, the latter failing to throw him three times in ninety
minutes. The match put the game in bad odor in Milwaukee, it being claimed
that the Oriental deliberately allowed his opponent to stick out the time.

The Mabray gang of swindlers, with whom Carkeek is alleged to have been
connected, has figured in the courts on numerous occasions, and is said to
have secured over a million dollars within a few years through the fake foot
races, wrestling and boxing bouts. It is said to be headed by a man who can
fitly be termed the "Napoleon of Crime."
++++

Hartford CT: November 14, 1910
George Hackenschmidt vs Hjalmar Lundin

CARKEEK GOES TO OMAHA
(Wire story, Stevens Point WI Journal, December 3, 1910)

SAN FRANCISCO -- Jack Carkeek, alleged to be a member of the Mabray gang of
race-track and prize-fight sharps, was Monday (Nov. 28) ordered sent to
Omaha for trial by Judge Van Fleet of the United States district court.
++++
JACK CARKEEK ARRESTED IN SAN FRANCISCO AS PART OF MABRAY GANG
(Stevens Point WI Journal, September 3, 1910)

Jack Carkeek, the wrestler, formerly a resident of Waupaca when employed as
a detective by the old Wisconsin Central Railway Co., has, according to a
dispatch from San Francisco, been arrested there under the name of John
Fletcher, as a member of the Mabray gang of swindlers, and turned over to
the federal authorities. Carkeek is alleged to have been the wrestler of the
gang, and to have taken part in fake matches that netted them thousands of
dollars.

Carkeek is almost as well known in Stevens Point as though he had made his
home here, having visited the city on a number of occasions for long
periods. He was at one time champion of the world at the Cornish style of
wrestling, though he was a good performer at catch-as-catch-can and
Graeco-Roman. A fit of illness caused him to retire from the mat during the
earlier part of his career and he was for many years in the employ of the
Wisconsin Central.

When Hali Adali, the giant Turk, invaded this country about a decade back,
Carkeek returned to the wrestling game and won a handicap match from the
Turk in Milwaukee, the latter failing to throw him three times in ninety
minutes. The match put the game in bad odor in Milwaukee, it being claimed
that the Oriental deliberately allowed his opponent to stick out the time.

The Mabray gang of swindlers, with whom Carkeek is alleged to have been
connected, has figured in the courts on numerous occasions, and is said to
have secured over a million dollars within a few years through the fake foot
races, wrestling and boxing bouts. It is said to be headed by a man who can
fitly be termed the "Napoleon of Crime."
++++

Hartford CT: November 14, 1910
George Hackenschmidt vs Hjalmar Lundin

CARKEEK GOES TO OMAHA
(Wire story, Stevens Point WI Journal, December 3, 1910)

SAN FRANCISCO -- Jack Carkeek, alleged to be a member of the Mabray gang of
race-track and prize-fight sharps, was Monday (Nov. 28) ordered sent to
Omaha for trial by Judge Van Fleet of the United States district court.
++++JACK CARKEEK ARRESTED IN SAN FRANCISCO AS PART OF MABRAY GANG
(Stevens Point WI Journal, September 3, 1910)

Jack Carkeek, the wrestler, formerly a resident of Waupaca when employed as
a detective by the old Wisconsin Central Railway Co., has, according to a
dispatch from San Francisco, been arrested there under the name of John
Fletcher, as a member of the Mabray gang of swindlers, and turned over to
the federal authorities. Carkeek is alleged to have been the wrestler of the
gang, and to have taken part in fake matches that netted them thousands of
dollars.

Carkeek is almost as well known in Stevens Point as though he had made his
home here, having visited the city on a number of occasions for long
periods. He was at one time champion of the world at the Cornish style of
wrestling, though he was a good performer at catch-as-catch-can and
Graeco-Roman. A fit of illness caused him to retire from the mat during the
earlier part of his career and he was for many years in the employ of the
Wisconsin Central.

When Hali Adali, the giant Turk, invaded this country about a decade back,
Carkeek returned to the wrestling game and won a handicap match from the
Turk in Milwaukee, the latter failing to throw him three times in ninety
minutes. The match put the game in bad odor in Milwaukee, it being claimed
that the Oriental deliberately allowed his opponent to stick out the time.

The Mabray gang of swindlers, with whom Carkeek is alleged to have been
connected, has figured in the courts on numerous occasions, and is said to
have secured over a million dollars within a few years through the fake foot
races, wrestling and boxing bouts. It is said to be headed by a man who can
fitly be termed the "Napoleon of Crime."
++++

Hartford CT: November 14, 1910
George Hackenschmidt vs Hjalmar Lundin

CARKEEK GOES TO OMAHA
(Wire story, Stevens Point WI Journal, December 3, 1910)

SAN FRANCISCO -- Jack Carkeek, alleged to be a member of the Mabray gang of
race-track and prize-fight sharps, was Monday (Nov. 28) ordered sent to
Omaha for trial by Judge Van Fleet of the United States district court.
++++

FLEECED A TOWN OF $750,000
(By Chicago Tribune, printed in Washington DC Post, August 6, 1911)

Mabray, the magnate of the con game trust, will soon be liberated from
Leavenworth Prison.

This announcement will cause interest in many cities. It will carry a sting
into hundreds of homes and offices. For the Mabray gang, operating through
the Western States, with its main "store" at Council Bluffs, Iowa, was
unquestionably the most businesslike and effective swindling organization
ever brought into an American court. Its winnings in 1908 alone, as figured
out by attendants of the trials of two years ago, reached a total of almost
three quarters of a million.

J.C. Mabray and his gang staged fake horse races, wrestling matches, foot
races and prize fights. In all of these events one of the contestants
dropped dead. In the alarm and fear of arrest that followed, the gang would
disappear with the money. The victim was in no position to complain, for in
almost all cases he had been caught in an effort to help fleece someone
else. If he did complain, the police could not or would not help him.

The gang was rounded up in 1910 by the post office authorities. Fifteen were
prosecuted in federal court by Sylvester R. Rush, special assistant attorney
general for the United States, who figured in the Alaskan coal and Western
land fraud cases. Most of those tried received sentences. Only two men,
however, have been tried so far in the state courts. There are 3,000
indictments standing, and at a mass meeting in Council Bluffs several weeks
ago a demand was made that these prosecutions be pushed.

The confidence operators might still be filling safety deposit boxes with
banknotes were it not for a trivial accident and a bit of feminine
improudence. The wife of John R. Dobbins, of Princeton, Mo., the "steerer"
who introduced T.W. Ballew, of the same city, to the gang, to his loss of
$30,000, is said to have been so pleased with the transaction that she could
not resist whispering it about. As a result the public made Ballew's life
miserable by its inquiries concerning race horses. Ballew filed a charge of
swindling. But the gang actually came to its misfortune through the mistake
of a mail clerk.

Mabray used Box 4 at the post office and the clerk happened to throw a
letter for him into an adjoining box. The letter was opened by mistake and,
being in the code of the gang, aroused much interest. It was turned over to
the post office authorities and J.S. Swenson, an inspector, began to work up
a case that took him all over the West.

While the main "store" was in Council Bluffs, the gang also operated more or
less frequently in Cook County, Illinois, outside of Chicago; in Seattle,
Los Angeles, Denver, New Oreans, Little Rock, Hot Springs (Ark.), Kansas
City, South Bend (Ind.), Pittsburgh, and other cities. Of these, New Orleans
and Denver were perhaps the favorite "branch stores."

The "store" kept a set of traveling men who went from place to place in
search of likely victims. Big men were their prey. They could not afford to
bother with small fry. A 'mike," as the victim was called in the technique
of the trade, who could not produce at least $1,000, would have been too
small to cover expenses. The stage settings and accessories were expensive.

The victim, a man of wealth and position, with a tendency toward sports and
sharp bargains that would make him susceptible, having been found, it was
necessary to provide a "steerer."

The standard story for the "steerer" to tell was something like this: "Mr.
Mike, I have a cousin who's coming out West pretty soon with a bunch of
Eastern millionaires who are looking into an interurban proposition.
(Mabray, called "Gordon," was the cousin.) My cousin's been with this bunch
for years, and he's really made 'em, but they won't give him credit for it.
The schemes have been his and he's entitled to part of the profits, but they
won't do him justice. He thinks he sees a way now, though, to get even with
the (blankety-blank) hogs while they're here. They're a bunch of sports out
for a good time and they've got a horse that they think can beat anything.
They'll bet any amount on him. Well, my cousin has picked a horse in
Missouri that he knows can beat their horse. He tried him out and timed him
and it's a cinch -- nothing to it. We're going to put all the money we've
got on him and clean 'em up. Sounds sort of raw, but you wouldn't think so
if you knew how they've trated him. My cousin and I can't bet openly against
the bunch, of course, so we wondered whether you couldn't come down and bet
the money for us like it was yours."

This sort of talk, when made to the right sort of man, could not fail to be
effective. "Mike" usually agreed to play the part of the racehorse man with
the unknown horse. Unknown, by the way, is an odd word in this connection.
Red Leo, as pretty a little runner as ever stepped, was used constantly
under that name and was the horse upon which all the "Mikes" placed their
money.

When "Mike" had agreed to act the part he was instructed to bring some
negotiable paper of his own. They did not want to deal with any
irresponsible parties. "Mike" was to bring a bank draft or some such
negotiable security for a good sum, $10,000 or so, to show himself a man of
substance. No suggestion ever was made that this sum was to be played upon
the race. No, it was merely to be on exhibition.

Arrived at Council Bluffs, or Denver, or New Orleans, or wherever it was,
"Mike" would be plunged into the midst of ready money. Every man he met had
handfuls of money. As much as $50,000 would be in sight at one time.
Naturally this impressed the average "mike" as an undeniable evidence of
millionaires. All the properties were carefully arranged. As, for instance,
in Pittsburgh, a three-car special train was provided for the
"millionaires."

When the betting began, "Mike" was made stakeholder. He sat with his own
personal draft before him on the table to show that he had the financial
responsibility of one who is to figure in matched races. Soon, the money of
"the cousin," and of the "steerer," would be gone, but the "millionaires"
would be crying, "More, more, more." Then "Mike" would fall.

Nothing had been said at any time as to his betting his own money; but there
would be the "millionaires" crying, "More, more," and sure to lose. In would
go the draft and "Mike" would be caught. Before the start the money probably
would be hustled into a safety deposit vault, "Mike" standing by to see it
properly done. But the minute he was out and away for the course the money
would be removed and "Mike's" draft cashed and secured.

At the race course, "Mike" would find all the proper paraphernalia of the
matched race. Red Leo was a horse to inspire confidence. Everything would be
in readiness. The flag would drop and the horses get away with Red Leo well
in the lead. Red Leo, "Mike's" horse, would seem a sure winner. Then,
suddenly, the jockey would throw up his hands, reel in his saddle, and
plunge to earth, blood flowing from his mouth. He had "bitten the bladder,"
in the "patter" of the business.

Instantly, panic fell upon the "millionaires." Here was scandal and
arrest -- betting and the killing of a jockey. A rush would be made to
escape before the police should arrive. Everybody would run to get away. So
well was the plot worked that "Mike" rarely understood the fact that he had
been swindled until he was well out of town. Ballew, one of the victims,
even gave a member of the gang whom he met at the depot $25 with which to
get home.

Sometimes the bunko syndicate worked through a wrestling match, a running
race, or a prize fight, according to the inclinations of the "mike." But in
all the events, one of the principals fell dead and all the others ran to
avoid arrest. When it dawned upon the victim that he had been swindled there
were several reasons why he should not make an outcry. In the first place,
he was a well-known citizen and could not afford to admit that he had been
connected with a "sure thing" game or a disreputable death.

So far only two men have been tried in the state courts. Of these, John R.
Dobbins, of Princeton, Mo., who introduced T.W. Ballew to Red Leo, was given
a seven-year sentence. Frank Scott, another alleged "steerer," was
acquitted. Mabray will have to face more than two dozen indictments in the
Pottawatomie County courts. R.B. Herriman, secretary of the organization, is
dead, having passed away in a Los Angeles jail. Harry Forbes, a Chicago
lightweight, was among those convincted, but took an appeal. Bert Shores, a
Seattle wrestler, got 15 months. Leon Lozier, once a phenomenal runner, was
implicated.

The books of the gang were kept in cipher. Each man had a number. There were
hundreds. Mabray was No. 66. Unfortunately for the bunko syndicate, the key
to the ledger was found and many were implicated. The entry which deals with
the Ballew case is as follows: "Mike Ballew, $30,000, Red Leo, Blood run.
Louied him." Ballew, it may be mentioned, was a banker with 14 lumber yards,
two department stores, two lime kilns, and other properties. This shows the
class of men who were victimized. Of the Ballew operation, Mabray received
half and Dobbins, the "steerer," $7,500.

Mabray himself has a whimsical belief in honesty as the best policy. "I
never 'miked' an honest man," is his assertion. "Honesty is the best policy.
With honesty, none of these fellows would have been caught and I would not
have been in the pen."

R.B. Herriman, F.C. Brown and E.C. Moore, three of Mabray's chief
lieutenants, were captured in San Jose, where they were in luxurious hiding.
An interesting point is that among the suits filed were included charges
against Ernest E. Hart, president of the First National Bank of Council
Bluffs, who was charged with collusion. These charges are among those not
yet heard. When these state court cases are heard the public at least will
have full information in one of the most interesting and complicated
confidence games ever worked.
++++

FROM JAIL TO OFFICE: Taft Helps Harry Forbes to Become DeputySheriff
(Washington DC Post, Tuesday, August 22, 1911)

President Taft yesterday commuted the two-year sentence and $10,000 fine
imposed upon Harry Forbes, a Chicago prize fighter, convicted of connection
with the notorious Mabray gang, which reaped a harvest in the middle West a
few years ago on fake horse races and prize fights. Several members of the
gang have received prison sentences, and Forbes was instrumental in their
prosecution. Forbes will become a deputy sheriff of Cook County, Ill. The
President commuted his punishment to a fine of $100.

The prize fighter's prison term was practically ended when the executive
allowed his fine to be decreased. Reasons for the act are Forbes' excellent
conduct since the time of his imprisonment and the fact that he aided in the
punishment of thirteen other defendants who were sentenced with him.

Many prominent men joined in the effort to secure his release, declaring
that the aid he gave the government in the fraud cases, combined with his
good conduct, made an additional term in prison for the nonpayment of his
fine an undue hardship.

During 1909 the country was startled by the announcement of the remarkable
"millionaire club" frauds. Eighteen states, Canada, and Alaska were invaded
in the wide field of operations. The plan of the gang, of which John C.
Mabray was head, included the extensive use of the mails, and this led to
the ultimate capture of 14 of the 84 men indicted.

According to the plan, one of the members of the gang would visit a strange
city, and represent himself as a confidential friend of the secretary of a
coterie of wealthy men who were touring the United States. He confided this
information to some well-known man, relying on him to spread the news.

It then would develop that the wealthy men were engaged in promoting
athletic sports of all kinds throughout the country. The "secretary," so the
"steerer" said, was angered at his employer, and wished to get even. Whoever
the "steerer" selected as a victim was urged to write to the "secretary" of
the club and arrange through him for a bet on some coming event. The
"secretary" was to arrange it so that the victim would win easy money at the
event.

Letters to the "secretary" finally resulted in the posting of a check
ranging from $100 to $30,000 by the victim. His money would be placed on
some supposed sporting event that was "fixed" for the victim to win.

Foot racing, boxing, wrestling, horse racing, and "wire tapping" were among
the schemes by which the "secretary" was to aid the victim in winning his
money. The gang carried many of its own pugilists, and pretended to "fix"
any sporting event that could be influenced by money.

The name of the organization was derived from the fact that it was supposed
to have made more than $5,000,000 during its two years' existence, and every
member was supposed to be wealthy in his own right.

The fourteen men captured were convicted on March 20, 1910, and each was
sentenced to two years' imprisonment and a fine of $10,000. Those convicted
were John C. Mabray, Leon Lozier, T.S. Robinson, Willard Powell, Clarence
Class, Edward Leach, Edward K. Morris (colored), Clarence Forbes, Harry
Forbes, Frank Scott, E. McCoy, W.S. Harris, B.H. Shores and William Marsh.

Harry Forbes, during the time he was on the witness stand, furnished
evidence which showed the conspiracy to defraud the public. It was shown,
furthermore, that he was largely a dupe of the bigger men in the gang. When
he was sent to jail he was without the money to pay his fine.

It was stated after the trial that Forbes was instrumental in introducing
the witness Edward Fenby, a professional wrestler, who showed letters from
the Mabray gang telling how to lose wrestling matches. One of those letters
was written by Mabray, and told how a bladder filled with blood could be
broken in the mouth during a wrestling match, giving the appearance of a
hemorrhage.

The reports sent to the President by those who had Forbes in their custody
were of the best. They described him as a model prisoner, a man who had
thoroughly reformed, and who had not comlained at his sentence, though it
was as severe as those given the men he had helped to convict.
++++

Leavenworth KS: October 29, 1911
John C. Mabray and E.K. Morse, members of the Mabray swindling gang, were
released from federal prison but their liberty is brief. At the prison gate,
Deputy Sheriff Waddington of Council Bluffs IA re-arrests the men on a state
charge.
++++

SWINDLES TOLD ABOUT IN COURT
(Wire story, Nevada State Journal, Reno NV, December 20, 1911)

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Ia., Dec. 19 -- Continuing his testimony today at the trial
of Benjamin Marks, accused of having been the "fixer" of the notorious
Mabray gang of fake sporting affair swindlers, John C. Mabray, chief of the
gang, who has just completed a term in the federal prison at Leavenworth,
Kansas, for his share in the operations of the gang, gave a complete history
of the operations by which hundreds of persons throughout the country were
duped out of amounts aggregating a million dollars, and told of making an
agreement with Marks to "fix" the police and the county authorities here.

The witness declared that notwithstanding Marks had promised him police
protection, one of his men had been arrested but later released after Marks
had "arranged it."

Scores of horse race swindlers were detained by the witness. He admitted
having "cleaned up" $80,000 in New Orleans.
++++

MABRAY COWBOY BUT NO GAMBLER
(Wire story, Nevada State Journal, Reno NV, December 21, 1911)

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Ia., Dec. 20 -- Deals by which victims were relieved of from
$10,000 to $30,000 today were described by John Mabray in his
cross-examination in the trial of Benjamin Marks, charged with furnishing
the police protection for Mabray and his "swindling syndicate."

Diamond brokerage, organizing fraternal lodges and conducting rooming houses
furnished Mabray employment before he began his swindling operations, he
admitted, and life as a cowboy on the plains was part of his history, but he
declined to admit that he was a gambler by occupation.

References to his operations as "thievery," "stealing the victims' money,"
and similar expressions by counsel for Marks, were resented by Mabray, who
defined them as "winning the man's money."

Telling of taking money from A. Dellney, a section foreman of Pemberton,
Wis., Mabray declared "it was one deal of which I was really ashamed." He
readily admitted that he won $3,000 from John Corbett of Chicago in a poker
game on the train.
++++

MABRAY RECITES HIS EXPERIENCES
(Wire story, Nevada State Journal, Reno NV, December 22, 1911)

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Ia., Dec. 21 -- Telling of the handling of large sums of
money with the casual interest of a millionaire and of the alleged
connection with the swindles of an ex-county official and of an ex-city
official, John C. Mabray spent tonight under cross-examination in the trial
of Benjamin Marks, a well known politician charged with having furnished
police protection to the notorious Mabray gang of swindlers.

In telling of the distribution of the percentage of the gang's profits
which, he said, was paid Marks for protection, Mabray declared that Marks
had told him that a part went to J.J. Hess, "who was to give notice of
complaints that might be made at his office," and a part went to officers of
the First National Bank, who kept the gang informed, Mabray said, regarding
the financial standing of various persons, "so that the 'big steer' could
'go after them' at the right time."

The defense introduced an alleged list of swindles perpetrated by the Mabray
syndicate here, at New Orleans and Seattle, aggregating $454,295. The list
bore the names of every victim, the date of the swindle and the sums taken
from them. It was also shown that swindles were perpetrated in Davenport,
Iowa, San Francisco, Denver and South Bend, Indiana.
++++

HIGHER UPS CALLED TO TESTIFY IN BEHALF OF ALLEGED SWINDLER
(Wire story, Nevada State Journal, Reno NV, December 24, 1911)

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Ia., Dec. 23 -- Leading Iowa politicians, officials of some
of the large local banks, former city and county officials and one former
deputy United States marshal are among those who will be called to testify
in defense of Benjamin Marks, on trial for alleged conspiracy in the
swindling of various persons throughout the United States of sums ranging
from $1,000 to $30,000 and aggregating more than $1,000,000. This
announcement was made today by counsel for Marks.

Practically all the evidence for the prosecution was in when court adjourned
today for two days and the defense will open its case Tuesday.

Ernst E. Hart, national republican committeeman from Iowa and president of
the First National Bank of this city, will be one of the leading witnesses
called by Marks' attorneys. Others on the list will include J.J. Spindler,
cashier of the First National Bank; T.G. Turner, president of the City
National Bank; Dr. Donald McRae, former mayor, and W.A. Greneweg, deputy
United States marshal. It is believed several of these witnesses will be
asked to rebut the direct testimony of John C. Mabray who admitted he was
leader of the ring.

Today was spent by the prosecution in winding up the case. J.C. Swenson, a
post office inspector who worked up the case against Mabray, and his
associate, C.S. Ranger, were the principal witnesses. Both identified
numerous letters, telegrams and other documentary evidence.

The jury, heretofore in charge of a bailiff, was relieved of that restraint
until Tuesday, with a severe admonition by the court to refrain from any
conversation or reading reports of the trial and conversing among themselves
as to the merits of the case.
++++

DENIED A HEARING
(Greene IA Recorder, issue of December 27, 1911)

DES MOINES, Ia. -- John R. Dobbins, a lieutenant in the J.C. Mabray gang of
swindlers, will have to serve his sentence of two years in the penitentiary.
The supreme court of Iowa has entered a motion overruling a petition for a
rehearing of his case, filed by his attorneys of Council Bluffs. Dobbins was
convicted on a charge of larceny and sentenced to two years in the
penitentiary. The supreme court affirmed this conviction several weeks ago.
++++

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Ia. -- John C. Mabray, notorious for his connections with
the so-called "big store swindles," has secured a position as manager of a
Kansas City hotel, according to a letter to Post Office Inspector C.S.
Ranger.
++++

MABRAY PLEADS GUILTY
(Wire story, Nashua IA Reporter, March 21, 1912)

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Ia. -- Four more of the swindlers associated with John C.
Mabray, who recently completed a sentence in the federal penitentiary for
his part in swindles on fake sporting events aggregating $1,000,000, were
brought before United States District Judge Smith McPherson and pleaded
guilty. They are: W.H. Bryson, Joe E. Wright, Frank Scott and W.S. Gibson.
Bryson was fined $300, and sentence will be pronounced on the other three
later.
++++

KING OF GRAFTERS CHASED FROM CITY
(Wire story, Wichita Times, Wichita Falls TX, March 28, 1912)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Once the alleged chief of the $5,000,000 big sport
swindle sydnicate, proud, prosperous and always wearing a smile of
contentment, John C. Mabray walked from the Kansas City police headquarters
yesterday branded as an "undesirable citizen."

He walked from the station with bowed head. The pride which he had cherished
had been dealt a blow which felled him for the count of ten. He must move
on.

Mabray is acknowledged to have been one of the greatest "fake sport scheme"
promoters in the country. The pages of his and his associates' history
telling of the methods employed in taking money from credulous men of
wealth, by "fake fights," "fake foot races," and "fake wrestling matches,"
would read in true "Diamond Dick" style and give the reader a thrill of
excitement. The details of the prearranged matches were always complete and
the "mikes" fell but were so embanked with complicated circumstances that
they feared to tell of their losses because they imagined they were
accessories in the deals.

"You'll have to leave Kansas City," Mabray was told by Chief Griffin before
he left. "You asked for a chance. We are willing to give you one -- that is
to get out of the city."

Mabray hesitated before replying. "I'll have to notify the United States
district attorney before I go," he said. "I guess I might as well go one
time as another."

"All right," continued the chief. "You will be able to arrange for your
departure by Saturday. If you are in Kansas City after then you will be
arrested. Goodbye."

Half turning as if to make another reply Mabray again hesitated. He changed
his mind and walked from the station.

Mabray was arrested Wednesday evening. He was booked for investigation at
police headquarters. "The arrest was made on general principles," said Chief
Griffin. "There have been too many swindles called to the attention of the
police lately. We had nothing on Mabray but wanted him arrested to hear his
story."

Mabray was released from the federal prison at Leavenworth last October,
where he served two years for using the mails to defraud.

J.C. Mabray was one of the leaders of a gang that operated in the Central
West for a number of years, promoting fake foot races, horse races and prize
fights. So successful were they that it was estimated that they fleeced
business men of unquestionable standing out of more than a million dollars.

Mabray and five of his associates were arrested at Little "Rock, Ark., in
the early part of March, 1909, while preparing to leave the state to avoid
the storm about to break because of the many frauds perpetrated. All five
were held in bail for $10,000 each, and Mabray's bond was $15,000. Other
arrests followed, and in the federal court at Council Bluffs, Ia., March 21,
1910, Mabray and either other members of his gang were sentenced to the
federal prison at Leavenworth for two years each, and were fined $10,000.
Two other members of the gang drew sentences of fifteen months in prison and
were fined $100.

In October, 1911, Mabray and a couple of the other members of his gang were
arrested as they were leaving the federal prison on a charge that came from
Iowa, and four were sent back to prison for using the mails to defraud.

Most of the victims never realized that they had been swindled until they
learned of the arrest of the gang. The whole story was never told because
many a hard headed business man kept his losses to himself.

When Mabray was arrested, he was identified by ten or twelve men who had
parted with $5,000 to $40,000 each in fake races and fights. Then came
scores of complaints from all parts of the central west, from bankers, hotel
keepers, doctors, railroad officials, bank cashiers, lumber dealers,
storekeepers, every branch of business, represented by the complainants who
admitted they had bitten. They could not resist the chance to win big money
on a "sure thing."
++++

ENTERS PLEA OF GUILTY
(Wire story, Greene IA Recorder, September 25, 1912)

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Ia. -- E.C. Moore, an alleged member of the Mabray gang of
swindlers whose fight of three years against extradition from California for
trial was recently ended by an adverse decision of the United States Supreme
Court, pleaded guilty in the federal court here to participation in the
operations for which John C. Mabray and other associates served terms of
imprisonment. H.K. Robine, who pleaded guilty to being implicated in three
swindles on fake wrestling matches, was sentencfed to pay a fine of $250.
The amount was paid and Robine released.
++++

Greene IA Recorder: (issue of) January 8, 1913
"The Merchants' Life Insurance Company of Burlington foreclosed a mortagage
for $35,000 on the farm of Orson Newberry, a farmer near Keokuk, last week.
Newberry was the man who exposed the operations of the Mabray gang. He
borrowed the money to recuperate the losses sustained by his dealings with
the confidence men."
++++

This is all J MICHAEL KENYON research.---Steve Yohe

[ 02-28-2004, 02:03 PM: Message edited by: Steve Yohe ]

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Steve Yohe
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Ole Marsh twice beat Frank Gotch in wrestling matches in Alaska (8-29-01 & 9-13-01). You will find people who will tell you Gotch never worked matches.

He managed Gotch in Alaska & in Seattle in 1903.

In 1919, it was this Ole Marsh that told everyone the finish of the 1920 Stecher/Caddock match. He was breaking kayefabe all over the mid-west. Maybe it was because his old rival Jack Curley had stoled the sport from the Farmer Burns group. I know nothing but some of this info fits together.--Yohe

[ 02-28-2004, 03:04 PM: Message edited by: Steve Yohe ]

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Matt Farmer from WA
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quote:
Originally posted by Steve Yohe:
FREMONT EVENING TRIBUNE
TUESDAY, FEB. 3, 1920

STECHER SYNDICATE MADE A CLEANING
SPORTMEN TOOK $30,000 FROM CADDOCK BACKERS

A syndicate of sports who have been backing Joe Stecher in matches of the last few years made a big killing on the Stecher-Caddock bout in New York last Friday, according to word that is being passed around. This syndicate is composed of five admirers in Dodge and Cuming counties.

According to information that has leaked out the syndicate sent to Iowa where Caddock stock was away above par. Upwards of $30,000 is said to have been placed at even on the outcome of the match which Stecher won. On other matches in which Stecher was one of the principals the syndicate has ?covered? all the money to be found and of course have collected most of the time for Joe has been winning with regularity.

Joe shares in the pool of the syndicate, getting 20 per cent of the gross amount and then a share of what is left.

Stecher is now on a trip throught the eastern states that will keep him busy for a month or more. He has several matches scheduled along the Atlantic coast. He is accompanied by Mrs. Stecher and brother Tony.

Wonder if ol Stecher and Caddock were in cahoots?

--------------------
email me at: inferno4l@hotmail.com
follow me on twitter at: @mattfarmer93

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Ken Viewer
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Couldda sworn I've posted this 1917 image, which I believe is an "enhanced," drawn-on or over, a photograph, but I can't find it. Maybe it's even a sketch or painting. I posted it because I can't find anything better yet, and it does seem to be unique.

It's a small, badly-retouched version of something based upon a photograph of, as the Des Moines Register's caption reads:

"Prominent wrestling personalities line up in the ring before the Stecher-Caddock championship match of 1917. From left to right: Tony Stecher, Joe Stecher's manager; Chas S. Sherman, referee; Joe Stecher; Frank Gotch, retired champion; Earl Caddock, challenger and victor; Gene Melady, Caddock's manager; and Dave Stevens, announcer."

(Buncha crooks? "Say it ain't so, Shoeless Joe..."... uhh, wrong sport. -- Ken)

 -

Ken

[ 11-04-2009, 01:57 PM: Message edited by: Ken Viewer ]

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Big Burly
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Does anyone beside me think Frank Gotch looks *old* here?

His face looks older. He resembles the 40-60 year old George Burns in this pic.

If it was near the end for him, I can imagine he would look emaciated.

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Ken Viewer
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quote:
Originally posted by Big Burly:
Does anyone beside me think Frank Gotch looks *old* here?

His face looks older. He resembles the 40-60 year old George Burns in this pic.

If it was near the end for him, I can imagine he would look emaciated.

This photo is so badly altered that it made it into one of my posts only because it appears to be a unique image of these guys together, and at least, to be based upon a photograph. IIIRC it's been around the Internet for a while, and I only linked to it because a Des Moines newspaper has vouched for it existing -- whether it's a line-drawing over an underexposed photo, a paint-job on a single frame of a 35 mm frame of movie film, or whatever. **It is enhanced, particularly the faces.**

Most of those faces are, in my opinion, drawn on by an artist who added details of what was not reproducing the way it was hoped.

I don't believe we can tell much of anything regarding Gotch from this photo -- other than that he posed with the others.

I see I need to describe it as "based upon a photographic image."

Ken

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