In February 1932, American immigrant, William Reid had only been in Scotland for 4 weeks, when he was imprisoned for 1 year for faking cheques. Starting out his new life in the worst possible away his methods were cunning in obtaining £31 from 2 banks in Larkhall and Blantyre by means of faked documents and cheques. It took the canny staff at the Blantyre branch to catch him out.
He first obtained a cheque from the bank by means of a faked document purporting to be the Secretary of a Friendly Society. He thereafter produced cheques to a total of £31 at various banks and stated he was entitled to the money for funeral services.
How he was caught
His efforts were unsuccesful in a number of cases, but in two instances, despite every precaution taken the banks, he got the money. The signatures on the cheques, when compared, corresponded with those in the possession of the bank. When he presented the cheque at the Glasgow Road bank in Blantyre, the agent asked Reid to get authentication.
He left the bank and later a telephone message purporting to be from the manager the local nearby Co-operative Society’s shop was received at the bank. The message was to the effect that everything was in order.
The bank staff asked the Co-op manager to come along, but the alleged Co-op manager explained that it was half-day and the staff had all gone and could not leave the shop. The manager was then requested to pay the cheque and the bank would give payment the following day.
The bank were then told that all the cash had been taken to the bank and there was not sufficient to meet the cheque. The man thereupon went to the bank and cashed the cheque. Later, it was found that the manager of the Co-op shop knew nothing about the telephone message and police were called.