Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 29 January 2023), July 1887, trial of ALFRED BENJAMIN GERARD GARDES (43) (t18870725-787).

ALFRED BENJAMIN GERARD GARDES, Deception > forgery, 25th July 1887.

787. ALFRED BENJAMIN GERARD GARDES (43) , Forging and uttering a receipt for the payment of 5l., with intent to defraud. (See page 254.)

MR. GRAIN Prosecuted; MR. ABINGER Defended.

ALBERT FERDINAND, COMTE DE CHAZELLE . I live at 45, Bedford Gardens, W., and am managing director of the Turf A B C Company, Limited, which was duly incorporated in January last—I put 700l. into the concern, and afterwards bought 15 shares, making altogether 2,200l., and my friends and relatives put in 5,200l.—the prisoner never put in a penny—he was appointed manager of the technical part of the business—the office was at 149, Fleet Street—I gave him cheques weekly to pay the tradesmen's accounts—his salary was 50l. a month—he has received the whole of it, and he also anticipated his salary to the extent of 32l., so that there is not a penny due to him—this paper is in his writing; it is all in French except the signature—it is "Received from Mr. Gardes, manager, 5l. for purchase of tubes for lift, speaking tubes and furniture, London, 8th April, 1887. Received H. Cox."—I looked at this book (produced) every week—it was shown to me with this entry in it: "Bill—Cox, speaking tubes, 5l.," and that satisfied me that the 5l. had been paid to Cox—after the prisoner was in custody on other matters I asked the clerk to bring me all the papers, and among them I found the receipts which have been produced—I never could obtain receipts from the prisoner, he seemed to think it very strange that I should not trust him—I have not been able to find any receipt from Cox in English—this letter of the 15th May, 1887, is in the prisoner's writing; it is in French.

Cross-examined. I have an estate in Burgundy—this is the badge of the Legion d' Honour in my coat—I am a partner in a firm at Bordeaux—I came here last summer on business—the prisoner was introduced to me by the servant of one of my friends, and he told me had a scheme—this is it (A pamphlet)—he asked me to find money to carry it out; to make a company and I found it all three months afterwards, and the company was formed—the prisoner was the vendor and I was the purchaser—I gave him 50l. a month for it—this is the contract. (Between the prisoner and the Turf A B C Company, by which the prisoner engaged himself to the Company for two years at a salary of 600l. a year for two years, and one fully paid-up share in the Company for every preferred share issued by them)—52 preferred shares of 100l. each were issued, representing 5,200l.—the deferred shares only had value when the preferred shares were paid—I put in 700l. of my own money, and I bought 1,500l. from a gentleman—the Imperial Bank are the Company's bankers, and mine also—everything is in my name; there never was any account opened for the Turf

A.B.C.; there is only one account, and that is in my name—I pay in the funds I receive on behalf of the Company in my name, and the prisoner knew that—he went to Mr. Owen and said "You think the Count has 1,200 shares, but he has only 500," and I then bought fifteen 100l. shares of Mr. Owen, and paid him 1,500l. for them by giving him some bonds which he may realise to-morrow if he likes—I gave him a proxy on my income, and he was pleased with it—I did not buy the shares back in consequence of any threats—they were worth 100l. each, but they never were in the market—I get 40l. a month as managing director—the prisoner was in custody for embezzlement when the clerk found this forged receipt among his papers in his cupboard—he was acquitted—I also found 30l., his petty cash, which I confiscated—he was charged with 2l., and I found 30l. in his private cupboard—on the day that he was arrested a committee was going to be held, but it was postponed, and he came to me and said in joke "If you don't put the accounts in a more regular manner and pay the accounts of the Company into another account, I shall denounce you"—he had threatened to murder me two or three times before, but he never threatened to expose my irregular practices.

Re-examined. When I became acquainted with him he was in want—I was obliged to give him money the first three months to enable him to live—there is no pretence for saying that this is not a genuine Company to which I have subscribed a large sum—when I bought Mr. Owen's shares they were worth 115l. per share—the 30l. was the balance of the prisoner's petty cash which he had in hand, and therefore the Company's property—he was in custody for large embezzlements, of money which he had to pay the workmen—there is not a particle of truth in the suggestion that this receipt was written by me.

HENRY COX . I am an electrician, of 13, Penton Place, King's Cross—in April last I did some work at the Turf Company's offices, 149, Fleet Street, for which I charged 3l., and had 30s. on account—the prisoner wrote out a receipt in English, and I signed it and gave it back to him—I am a foreigner and understand French, but this receipt is not my writing, or the one I gave him—I know nothing about it.

Cross-examined. I am in Mr. Carver's employ, of Fitzroy Square—I did not tell them that I did the work, because the prisoner told me not—I bought my own stuff and did the work at the prisoner's request—I did not ask for it—I did the whole of the work on Good Friday—I did not receive 5l. for it—I did not enter the amount in a book—I put my own address in English on the receipt—he could not spell some of the words and he asked me how to spell them—two gentlemen came to me from the Company, and said, "You did some work for the A B C Company, speaking tubes in the lift; how much did you give a receipt for?"I said, "3l. "—this "5l." in the receipt looks as if it had been altered, but I swear the signature is not mine, it is the same writing as the other part—I do not owe the prisoner any grudge, he gave me the work as a kindness.

Re-examined. The signature is a very good imitation of mine—the date on the stamp is not my writing—I am sure my receipt was in English, because he asked me how to spell the words.

JESSE CROUCH . On June 9th the Count gave the prisoner into my custody in the office—the prisoner spoke in French, which I did not understand—I

asked him if he understood the charge—he said, "Yes," and that he wished to go before the Court at once, which he did and was charged.

GUILTY ,— Six Months' Hard Labour.