The Times – 28th October 1837
The Fictitious Banks at Sheerness – The inhabitants of this town and neighbourhood congratulate themselves on a narrow escape from being defrauded, as doubtless some would have been, had the project of the designing party been carried into execution. We allude to the attempt of establishing in this town what we have every reason to believe may be designated a fictitious bank, under the application of the “Sheerness and Queenborough Bank.” Some few days since, a gentleman, who gave his name as Mr. Abrams, and who had a very respectable exterior, with very prepossessing and alluring manners, arrived in this town, and made inquiries of the several house agents for a house in the most respectable part of the town, stating that he had been to the West Indies, where he had made a few hundreds, and that his wife, who was at Ramsgate, had an annuity; that his intentions was to open an establishment: for the discounting of bills and for the transmission of money; that both himself and his wife were a little “touched” in the lungs through living in a warm climate, and thinking that the air of Sheerness would suit them, they resolved upon settling here, and hoped to add to their income by employing their money as above described, Mr. Abrams could not succeed in getting a house in that part of the town he wished to do till Christmas, and so engaged one till then in another part, and gave orders for its being fitted up with a handsome mahogany-topped counter, desks, a baized door with a glass panel, on which was to be painted the word “Bank,” and the various tradesmen commenced operations, but had not proceeded far in their work before a gentleman arrived in that town from Birmingham, for the purpose of making inquiries whether there was a Sheerness Bank, stating that several bills had been in circulation at Birmingham of the firm of Abrams and Co., at the Sheerness and Queenborough Bank, and that a person who had got some of them discounted was in custody, as much suspicion was attached to the bills, their genuiness being doubted. Mr Abrams had given instructions to a solicitor at Sheerness to draw up a partnership deed between himself and some gentleman who was to join him in the concern; on calling again to ascertain what progress was made in the deed, he was asked by the solicitor if he was aware that a person was in custody for negotiating some bills of his (Mr. Abrams’); on hearing this Mr. Abrams appeared astonished, and said that he should immediately set off for London and trace out his bills, and take them up at once and return to Sheerness in a day or two; but he has not yet made his appearance; and on inquiry being made at his lodgings, it appeared that he had packed up everything and started. There can be no doubt but that this would-be banker was connected with a set of swindlers, some account of whom has appeared in the London papers, and by some handbills that have been sent here from Birmingham, it appears that four persons are already in custody.