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"Ponzi is the guy who put the crease in Croesus," wrote Neal O'Hara for the Boston Traveler toward the end of July, 1920. He said we had violated the immigration laws of the United States. A couple of days later, we were brought to Plattsburg and put in jail there to await trial in the Fall. They would come aboard and inspect the baggage." "That does not alter the fact that this time you are all in the United States illegally," he went on. "We were interviewed on the Canadian side of the border. If we were not admissible for any reason, it seems to me that that was the time to exclude us. "The inspector does not need to be told by you what he should or should not have done," the attorney interrupted. Regardless of whether or not we were ignorant of the law. The five Italians were discharged from custody right after my trial. We found the United States Penitentiary a sight for sore eyes. From cabinet members and members of Congress to national bank officials and postal clerks. Besides, that infirmary looked to me as if it might lead me to a relapse. In fact, I managed to eke out a living, sometimes acting as interpreter; others, helping the local storekeepers out with their books; occasionally as a male nurse to some battered miner. Between christenings, weddings and other celebrations, we had more good times than we would have in a large city. A real brotherhood of common interests and endeavors and of neighborly love. To administer first aid under those handicaps was not a cinch. We are all here to discuss the ways and means and expediency of providing every house in this community with running water and electric light. " "We cannot put the thing off very long," he answered.

"He is the guy that ran up millions from a two-cent stamp. We were looking indifferently out of the window at the usual activity which follows the arrival of any train, when somebody yelled out: "Hey, you men! "You men get off this train and follow me," he directed. The same afternoon, we were transferred to Rouses Point. I was held for smuggling aliens into the United States. "It seems to me that he does too," I poured back at him, losing my head. Instead, he actually coaxed us, led us, into a violation of the law in order to make a record for himself. The judge glanced through the papers and took a squint at me. There were paid their two or more months allowances as government witnesses. I have been trying to ever since, but without success. Probably figuring how he could beat Teddy Roosevelt at the next presidential elections. In Atlanta, the deputy-marshals took us to a "bar-room" (?! Something to pep us up before the ordeal of a prison commitment. In fact, it was so far from any beer taste that it could not have caught up with it in a coon's age. From incometax dodgers to bootleggers and mail-robbers. Rather, for my intimate knowledge of the quack's methods and past. Men, women and children were all banded together by a uniform hope in and fear of their lord and master, the capricious King Coal. Yet, it had to be done because the hospital was two miles away and the only way to get there was walk. All I needed for that water and power plant were a gasoline engine, a pump, a dynamo and a tank. On top of the hill and down part of the other slope, there was another small, but more exclusive district for the native population. The whole community was organized under a charter and had some sort of a town council. I have made a superficial survey of the proposition and found that it would be practical to pump the water from the creek to a tank on top of the hill and distribute it from there. But I can't find anybody who will give up as little as an inch of his skin for her." He told me he had asked everybody around the camp. It did not seem fair that a young girl like Pearl should be permitted to die such a horrible death.

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If five-spots were snowflakes, Ponzi would be a three day blizzard." "You've got to hand it to his credit. " We turned around and saw the immigration inspector on the doorway of the coach. I conveyed his order to the five Italians and we did as we were told. I have no earthly use for that sort of public official. They were legally permitted to remain in the United States! On the way South, we travelled by Pullman, had our meals in the dining-car, and lounged about in our seats like tourists. And it stands to reason that those birds, knowing that an ounce of prevention is worth two points of cure, would take the New Willard as a pattern for "their" prison. There is a sucker born every day, and they make him a claim adjuster for a coal mining company! " I had a splendid chance to get in that accident racket. Gaiety ebbed or flowed in that camp at the king's whim, according to whether he was lavish or the other way, with tons of precious black mineral or with his frightful destruction of human lives! I made up my mind that the camp must be provided with both light and running water. The same engine which runs the pump, could also run the dynamo for the electric current. That nurse had been so kind to her patients that it seemed inconceivable that she should meet with such ingratitude. " he said as if he was afraid he had misunderstood." You?

He makes your money gain 50 percent in 45 days, which is as much as the landlords do. "All right," he said, and he walked along into the next coach. He, and not I, is the one who should be charged with smuggling those aliens." "You will sing a different tune in a couple of months from now," he threatened with a leer. In Washington, we had lunch at a pretentious restaurant near the station. We would have gone inside, but were afraid to embarrass some of the boys. They probably figured that since it had to be a cage, it might as well be a gilded cage. But my knowledge of Italian, English and French got me promoted. It was in my capacity of male nurse that I soon discovered something was amiss in that community. "To decide" with me is "to act." Even at those days I was no slouch at promoting. I have no figures to submit at this time as to the cost of the plant, the piping and the wiring. "What I propose to do is to get an estimate of the cost. " "Her condition is very serious," the doctor said. Gangrene is setting in." "Can't anything be done to save her? It made my blood sizzle to think that any person could be so selfish, so cowardly as to refuse a mere inch of his own skin to save a human life. "But I can't find even ten in a community of 2,000 or more people." "You're all wrong, doctor," I said.

He delivers the goods with postage stamps, which is more than Burleson does. "Maybe I will and, yet, maybe I won't," I snapped back. The penalty is two years and $1,000 fine for each alien. Judges always take the district attorney's recommendations." "And you promise to let me off with a $50 fine if I plead guilty? "Yes," he said, "I promise you that I will speak to the judge." And he did! I didn't have much trouble down there in getting myself a clerical job. I was transferred to the mail clerk's office, who by the way, is now the present Warden of that institution. For the very good reason that money with me is always the last consideration instead of being the first. Then I will form a corporation asking each member of this community to subscribe to one or more shares of its preferred stock. I intend to retain a controlling interest of the common stock for my own services and sell the balance to cover overheads and other emergency expenses of the corporation. "How many inches of skin do you need altogether, doctor?

The way Ponzi juggles the reds and the greens, he makes Post Office look like a child's game. I had to ask the men before I could answer the question. I believe they even exhibited some letter to show their destination. By then I was ready to relegate him to the seventh hell. In your case he would give you ten years and $5,000 fine." "Not if I plead guilty, what will happen? "No much, I guess," he said shrugging his shoulders. But God, the judge and himself only know what he told him! Besides addressing and sealing envelopes, it was my duty to translate into English and type all incoming and outgoing mail, if written in any of the foreign languages with which I was more or less familiar. As soon as a miner was the victim of some accident, especially a minor accident, he would be coached by the quack's agent to exaggerate the injury, to make it appear an internal injury, and to decline any settlement that may be offered by the company. "The rates for water and electric current will be determine by the town council as soon as I shall be able to submit figures for the running cost of the plant and the amortization of the preferred stock.

According to Miss Marguerite Mooers Marshall, a staff writer for the New York Evening World, Ponzi had them in a frenzy. And not overpunished, for a minor infraction or punished for something he never did, even if the man deserves ten times as much for other things which cannot be proved against him. Whether or not he had a license to practice is a horse of a different color. I saw his sign over the infirmary and was attracted by the name. Out of curiosity, I went in to find out whether it was a case of two practitioners with an identical shingle or of two shingles for one and the same "doctor." The moment I saw the man, the recognition was mutual.

Listen to what she said:— "Whoever said that proud old New Englanders are conservative, undoubtedly made that statement before the advent of Charles Ponzi. I should have said the entire New England, from Calais, Maine to Lake Champlain, from the Canadian border to New Jersey." "At every corner, on the street-cars, behind the department store counters, from luxurious parlors to humble kitchens, to the very outskirts of New England, Ponzi is making more hope, more anxiety, than any conquering general of old. "But I have put in a day here and a day there at odd jobs." "Then I would go, if I were you," he urged on. Of his other alleged crimes, I don't know anything about. They are something between him and his Maker and no business of mine in any way, shape or form. Frank, direct, and with "guts." After I got to know more about his case, I became convinced that he had been used to further the advancement of one of the officers of the United States Secret Service. The only thing of interest I found there was a "quack". Most of them had travelled in steerage, some in first or second class. They were all men, women or children who had left their native country and come to America, temporarily or for good, with the common purpose of finding better wages, better living conditions and greater economic independence. My old schoolmate left the courtroom in a rage: like a wild man. The man whose name had been forged, the two detectives and the paying teller. Said I had called at his office occasionally on Zarossi's business. He also stated that the check had been torn from the back of his check book. The two detectives testified to have found a number of blank checks in my trunk and 0 in my pocket. "The police take it upon themselves to decide what is and is not material evidence. I was one of those immigrants; one of the motley crowd oozing out of the ship's side; a diminutive figure bedecked in expensive clothes of the latest European cut and followed down the gang-plank by a couple of stewards laden with several pieces of baggage, large and small, labeled "First Class." Truly, for an immigrant, I did not look the part. I did," I confirmed with the same nonchalance of a George Washington under the cherry tree. The prosecutor asked the court to dismiss the charge. If it had been some poor man's money, he would not have got it back so easily. "But I have talked with a man who had met him out there." "What was he doing? "It seems that he liquidated the branches and then started in business for himself," she replied. There was nothing in my appearance to suggest the bread winner; nothing that could even be remotely associated with the thought of manual labor, of work of any kind; of economic penury. The judge ordered Zarossi discharged, but gave him twenty-hour hours to leave Canada. Before I left the courtroom, the prosecutor, a young Italian, came up to me. "I don't hold it against you, Charlie," he said then. But, being the money of the Bank of Hochelaga, a great bank, the police must go out of their way, actually violate the law, to see to it that the bank is not inconvenienced. From tie to spats, I looked like a million dollars just out of the mint; like a young gentleman of leisure, perhaps like the scion of wealthy parents on a pleasure tour. "You lied and you know you did," he whispered to me in our native language. "Zarossi is a darned sight better man than the complainant." Back in the jail, there was nothing else for me to do than to await patiently my own trial. "I am going to adjourn this case and look into the matter. He simply buys stamps in Europe while the rest of the boys are buying souvenir post cards. If I didn't tell him so, he certainly read my mind because he brought the interview to a close. He was under oath to uphold and preserve the Constitution … It never occurred to me then to tell him that the Constitution had been preserved so long that it was actually pickled! He won't believe you, because you have a prison record. "Perhaps a fine." "But I can't pay the fine," I told him. Particularly so, all correspondence from and for Ignazio Lupo and his alleged co-partners in crime. Right away, or in due course of time, according to the nature of the injury, the victim would end up at the quack's infirmary. When genuine accidents were scarce, fake accidents were resorted to. I expect those rates to leave a reasonable margin of profit for the common stock. The entire left arm and part of her breast and shoulder were actually one mass of charred flesh. Thomas, the company's doctor, came over to the camp. He never failed to call on me whenever he was at the camp. He stopped at the house where I was staying and we drank a bottle of beer.

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