Baronne Street, New Orleans
Customer of New Orleans Jewelers Obtains Diamond Ring with Bogus Check After He Had Exhibited Bank Deposit Book
New Orleans, La., Dec. 29.–Christmas eve a designing individual, giving his name as "John B. Hallihan," visited the jewelry establishment of Fitzgerald Bros, on Baronne St. Hallihan said he was an attorney connected with the claim department of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad, in Louisville. He was just in receipt of a notice, however, that he had been transferred to New Orleans, which would henceforth be his home. To Edward Fitzgerald, the president of Fitzgerald Bros., Hallihan showed letters of introduction purporting to come from prominent members of the Knights of Columbus in Louisville. These letters were addressed to members of the grand lodge of that order in New Orleans, among them being one addressed to Emile Wagner, Grand Knight of Council 714. As further evidence of the genuineness of his representations, he wore a K. of C. pin, posing as a fourth-degree knight, and seemed remarkably familiar with the workings and personnel of that order in Louisville and elsewhere.
During the course of conversation he remarked that he was transferring his bank account from Louisville to New Orleans, and asked for information as to the most trustworthy of such institutions here. The Citizens' Bank was mentioned in this connection, and "Hallihan" calling there soon returned to Fitzgerald Bros', establishment and exhibited his deposit book showing that he had opened a check account of $1,400 at the bank named. Then followed some more talk about the K. of C. and kindred matters, and incidentally he touched upon the subject of jewelry.
He had just been shown, he said, a very unique K. of C. pin at the establishment of A. B. Griswold & Co., described the pin, and expressed a desire to obtain its counterpart. But Mr. Fitzgerald could not duplicate the insignia, and "Mr. Hallihan," as evidence of good faith and disposition to trade, said he would be satisfied with a piece of jewelry which he would present to his wife as a Christmas present. Looking around the establishment his attention was centered on a very pretty solitaire ring, which he selected at a cost of $150, plus the war tax, giving in payment therefor a check on the Citizens' Bank.
Scarcely had this transaction been consummated, when one of the clerks of the Citizens' Bank 'phoned Fitzgerald Bros, for some confidential information regarding "Hallihan." Edward Fitzgerald replied that he knew absolutely nothing about the man beyond what has already been stated. Then the bank officials did some telegraphing, and in 30 minutes after "Hallihan" walked out of Fitzgerald Bros, with the diamond ring, the jewelry firm was telephoned again to the effect that the check "Hallihan" deposited with them was on a bank in Kansas City, although "Hallihan" had represented to Fitzgerald. Bros, that his bank account was in Louisville. "Hallihan" wanted to check against his account at the Citizens' Bank at once, but the officials refused, and that was the last seen of "Hallihan," either by Fitzgerald Bros, or the bank. The bank officials were not prepossessed with "Hallihan," and regardless of his offer to pledge diamonds to the bank in case his integrity was in any way questioned, declined any courtesies. The bank in Kansas City repudiated "Hallihan."
As far as known, Fitzgerald Bros, were "Hallihan's" only victims here. While the amount of his deception was only $157.50, the expose of the man and his methods are of the utmost importance, for it is evident that he is an expert in his line. Fitzgerald Bros, immediately notified the other local jewelers, as well as the authorities; also the Knights of Columbus, who telephoned that "Hallihan" was an imposter.
"Hallihan" is described as an entertaining conversationalist, 5 feet 6 inches in height, weight 132 pounds, age between 32 and 34 years, stylishly dressed, sallow complexion, sunken cheeks; wears a fourth-degree Knights of Columbus pin. Mr. Fitzgerald thinks he had a defective finger, but cannot recall which finger or whether it was the right or the left hand.
Source: The Jewelers' Circular - 4th January 1922