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THE FRENCH BANK-NOTE FORGERIES.…

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THE FRENCH BANK-NOTE FORGERIES. ■ The capture of the gang of French bank-note for- gers is the great social topic of the day in Paris. Seven members of the gang at present arrested are described by the police M follows: Joseph Barreau, aged 27, living at Neuilly, chief of the gang; Jean Barreau, aged 20, his brother, residing in the Faubourg, Pois- sonniere; fasten Jobet, aged 17, Jlne St. James; Mdlle. Jobet, 88 years of age, mother of Gaston Jobet and mistress of Jeaeph Barreau, living in the Rue St. Jamea Madame Jobet, widow, aged 61, mother of the prisoner just named, living in the Rue du Bac; Madame Barreau, widow, aged 60, mether of the two Barreaus mentioned above, Faubourg Poissonniere; and Mdlle. Philomine Bar- reau, 16, daughter of the preceding and sister of the two principal prisoners. It will thus be seen that the gang, so far as is yet known, is composed or the members of two families, and that they lived in various parts of the town. The youngest prisoner, Mdlle. Philomene Burreau, is said to be a pupil of the Conservatoire. She is a brilliant pianist, and played in several talons during the past winter. She says she knew nothing about the traffic of her brother, and was led to believe that her father, who died some years ago, left her 60,000t. The police did not think she was an accomplice, so that she will probably be released. The history cf the gang is very romantic. About ten years ago the eldest daughter of Madame Barreau and a certain rich personage made a tour through Italy together; they were ac- companied by Joseph Barreau, who is said to have received a good education, to be a capital musician, and a clever painter and engraver. During the tour Joseph met with a tragic adventure. An officer insulted his sister; he called him out, and kiUed him in with pistols. On returning to France, he made the acquaintance of MdUe. Jobet, who kept an hotel in the Bue de la Chaussee d'Antin. She possessed a little fortune. The couple went to Hombourg, and lost all their money at the gaming-table. Joseph Barreau then came back to the French capital, and set up a painter's studio in the Bue dAssas, where he earned a living for some time by painting por- traits. In 1873, however, he turned his attention to forgery. He began by forging 20f. notes, which his brother Jean was charged to pass off, but they found they could not make enough money with these small notes, and moreover the Bank of France had detected the forgery at once. The two brothers then removed to Montmartre, and thence to Puteaux, where they tried their hands at forging hundred-franc notes, but the paper was badly made, and they only succeeded in passing off a few of them. They now came to Neuilly, and having perfected themselves in the art of forgery, organised a wholesale emis- sion of hundred franc notes. It was arranged that Joseph Barreau should carry the notes, and that his brother Jean shonB pass them one by one and retorn the change to Jeseph, So that if he were arrested nothing would be found on him. This arrangement went on for some months, till Jean Barreau got afraid, and his place was taken by daston Jobet, who appears to possess an amount of aplomb far in advance of his age, and who did not scrapie to fill his pockets with the forged notes. His arrest at the Magasin du Louvre, while trying to pass off some of them, and the cap- ture of the other prisoners which followed, was made just in time. A few hours later the police would not have found them in the house at Neuilly. as it had been arranged that if Gaston Jobet dii not return towards the evening they should disperse till they knew what had happened to him. In addition to the implements with whieh the forgeries were made, the police found in the apartment no less than 15,000 francs in gold and silver, and 000 forged notes. The notes bore neither number nor letter; the space was left, blank. so as to enable a fresh number and letter to be used as the forgeries were discovered, and thereby throw the public off suspicion. It is estimated,, that the total amount of forged notes put in circulation by the gang duriag the past twelve months reaches at least 200,000 francs. The greater part .of these notes have found their way to the Bank of France. Two more women, it is said, have been arrested as accomplices, and the police are on the track ef others. The event has caused the greatest sensation everywhere, and peeple find some difficulty in changing a hundred- franc note.

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