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Being an outline of its development, an account of
the revival of imprisonment for debt and of
the other outrages practiced by dealers
under cover of the law, together
with suggestions for the
destruction of the

“ fake” trade.


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For some years a number of East Side instalment dealers have perpetrated the grossest frauds and almost inhuman legal brutalities upon the more ignorant portion of the immigrant population of the district-especially upon the Italians. During the early months of 1902 these abuses reached a climax. The Legal Aid Society, which has an office in the Settlement Building, fought with all its energy for the rights of the victims of the "fake" dealers, but although these efforts were attended with temporary success the conditions were so severe that a thorough investigation of the “fake" business and its consequent evils seemed absolutely necessary. The council of the University Settlement decided that such an investigation fell within the province of the Settlement's duty to the neighborhood, and appointed the below subscribed committee to arrange for a thorough inquiry. Henry R. Mussey, a graduate student of Columbia University, undertook the investigation. This investigation was undertaken, of course, with the intention that its results should serve as a basis for formulating a bill directed against this pernicious business. At the time this is written such a bill is being considered by the State Legislature.

The results of the investigation, in the committee's opinion, have been very startling. Feeling that the public will be interested to learn of the methods of this corrupt business, the committee now puts this report in print to show something of the injustice which is being practiced upon our new fellowcountrymen.

HENRY W. TAFT, Chairman.

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