Encyclopedia Titanica

Swindlers at Work in Titanic Lifeboats

On the Job Before Reaching the Carpathia

Unidentified Newspaper

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Mr. Stengel Thinks They Were on the Job Before Reaching the Carpathia


Met Afterward as Survivors, and They Tried to Bleed Him in a Racetrack Game

A story of how three swindlers rescued from the Titanic and aware that the Federal authorities were on their trail changed their names and tried to make victims of wealthy persons with whom they were saved was disclosed in Newark yesterday. Among the intended victims of the trio was Henry C. E. Stengel, a leather manufacturer of that city, who with Mrs. Stengel was taken from the Titanic in a lifeboat.

Mr. Stengel supplied the information that the three, one of whom is under arrest in Columbus, Ohio, were members of the same gang who duped William J. Mason of Norfolk, Va., out of $20,000 through the old wire tapping game in New York city about ten days ago. Mr. Stengel said that they tried to work the same scheme on him, but instead of "falling," he declared, he administered sound beatings to two of them in the Seville Hotel in New York.

The story came to light following the appearance of New York detective in Newark yesterday. Mr. Stengel believes that his knowledge of the confidence men dates from the time when the rescued passengers of the Titanic were being taken aboard the Carpathia. A young woman who said she was Miss Edith Rosenbaum of Far Rockaway introduced herself and Mr. Stengel gave her his card. She was accompanied by a young man who said his name was Smith. The latter is said to be under arrest in Columbus.

Miss Rosenbaum was seen on the Carpathia making acquaintance with many persons, and most cases she received the card of the person she talked with. On the second day after the rescue Mr. Stengel said he saw a man looking downcast, and when he asked him what the trouble was his answer was:

"Mr. Stengel, I have lost everything."

Mr. Stengel was surprised at the man calling him by name, but did not give it any further thought. Now the Newarker believes that the woman gave him his card. Mr. Stengel said the man told him that he was going to Los Angeles, but he did not know how he was going to get there, as he had lost all his money. Mr. Stengel advised him to ask the White Star Line to pay his fare. The passenger said he hadn't thought of that and thanked Mr. Stengel who promised to advance the money if the company refused it. The man said his name was George A. Brayton. Two day after the Carpathia landed Mr. Stengel was called on the telephone by a man who said he was Brayton. He said the White Star Line had given him his expenses and that he intended to leave for Los Angeles in a few days. Brayton took dinner at Mr. Stengel's home that night.

In the conversation that took place at the Stengel home Brayton spoke of a big real estate deal he had on in New York in which he expected to clear $65,000. The negotiations were to close about the time his brother-in-law, who he said was an assistant superintendent of the Western Union Telegraph Company, returned from Mexico.

Mr. Stengel heard nothing more from Brayton until June 3, when he received another telephone call. Brayton told him over the phone that his brother-in-law had returned and was in a position to make some money. He met Mr. Stengel by appointment and the two went to the Western Union Building, where Brayton's relative was supposed to have an office. On reaching the fourth floor a man wearing an eye shade hurried past them.

Brayton hailed the men with "Hello, Man!" and introduced him to Mr. Stengel. The relative made an appointment to meet Brayton with Mr. Stengel at the Hotel. Seville at the lunch hour. Mr. Stengel said that he started for the hotel with Brayton, who got a key for a room on the fourth floor. The room was bare of baggage. Brayton told Mr. Stengel that he had been staying there for a week.

After they had been in the room a short time, Mr. Stengel said, Brayton told of a scheme his brother-in-law had whereby he expected to make at least $100,000. He didn't know what it was and they were still talking about it when "Mac" came in. "MacDonald" said he was in charge of the "R. D." department of the Western Union, which he explained was the race horse department. He said he could withhold the results of races for at least eight minutes.

MacDonald had a racing chart with him and he pointed out the horses that were expected to win certain races. He said he would put $1,000 in the pool and wanted Brayton to subscribe. He also wanted another man to get in on the scheme. As soon as Mr. Stengel heard of the plan he sailed into "Mac" and when Brayton pleaded with him not to "squeal" he began to punch him. Mr. Stengel left and waited outside for the men, but they did not appear.

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Encyclopedia Titanica (2012) Swindlers at Work in Titanic Lifeboats (Unidentified Newspaper, Wednesday 26th June 1912, ref: #18884, published 21 June 2012, generated 23rd January 2022 06:52:41 AM); URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/swindlers-at-work-in-titanic-lifeboats-18884.html