Sunday, September 4, 2011

Miss Oaks, aka “Maria Graindorge,” Paternity Fraud Racketeer – 1873

FULL TEXT: An American adventuress, named as Maria Graindorge, has been arrested in Paris on the following charge of impudent and ingenious swindling : — She appeared, well-dressed, and with a handsome baby in her arms, at the houses of wealthy Parisians, asking to see the proprietor. As soon as she was admitted to his presence, she would rush at him, exclaiming, “ Traitor! wretch! Villain! have I found you at last!” At the same time, the handsome baby, having been trained for that purpose, would extend its little arms towards the astonished gentleman and cry, “Papa, dear papa!” It may be imagined that “papa” preferred to give the swindler some money in order to make her leave the house.

When she was arrested at her residence in the Rue Duvivier, no fewer than seven trained babies were found in the house, also nine or ten thousand francs in money. Mlle. Graindorge, upon being closely pressed by the examining magistrate, confessed that her real name was Oaks; that she was a native of New York; and that she had been before at the Saint Lazare prison. The Paris Assizes found her guilty, and she was sent for seven years to New Caledonia.

[“Untitled,” Wellington Independent (New Zealand), May 22, 1873, p. 2]


For more cases, see: Paternity Fraud Rackets


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