The Great Depression that broke out in the United States in 20s and 30s was a terrible blow to the U.S. nation. Millions of people lost their jobs, so they were forced to look for various ways of making a living.
Even the elderly junk collector Emerich Juettner, who was later called an "honest counterfeiter," had to break the law. One day in 1938 the owner of a local cigar shop took the cash to the bank. While counting the money the cashier drew attention to a strange $1 bill. It was made of very low quality paper, the letters were written carelessly, even the U.S. President George Washington, pictured on the bill, didn't look like himself.
The United States Secret Service became interested in the strange dollar. It soon turned out that such a counterfeit dollar was far from being the only one in New York. But for a long time it was impossible to trace the manufacturer of such bills. The Secret Service opened Case File 880, and the mysterious counterfeiter was called Mister 880. Only after a decade of search Secret Service managed to arrest the culprit.
In 1948, Juettner's house caught fire. Firefighters arrived and threw the tenant's belongings out of the windows. A few days later, local police officers noticed that children living near the burnt-out house were playing with $1 bills. These banknotes were very similar to those that the police spotted a decade ago.
The Secret Service were able to find out that these dollars belonged to humble Emerich Juettner, who had been collecting garbage from New York dumps for years.
Emerich Juettner was quite good at drawing, so he decided to use those skills to make a living. He constructed a printing press at home with the help of which he started counterfeiting $1 banknotes. As Juettner said later, he was full of remorse, so he did not dare to make bills of greater value.
Juettner printed about $15 a week, exactly as much as he needed for his modest existence. Furthermore, he tried not to pay twice with his $1 banknotes in the same store. Therefore, Juettner remained unnoticed for a decade. But at the age of 73 he ended up in the dock. The court was humane to the elderly man and gave him a sentence of 1 year and 1 day in jail plus a $1 fine.
The attorney assured the judge that his client's intention wasn't to enrich himself, but simply to survive. Having spent 4 months in jail Juettner was released and returned to his modest life.
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