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Swindle & Fraud

Volume VIII, Number 2 | spring 2015


Joseph Smith and other Mormon church leaders drew up articles for the Kirtland Safety Society Bank to provide capital to the burgeoning economy of Kirtland, Ohio, in 1836. Unable to obtain a bank charter, they printed banknotes as the Kirtland Safety Society Anti-Banking Company. The notes were used as tender. The bank failed during the Panic of 1837; holders of the notes were unable to recover their face value, and Smith then fled to Missouri to avoid arrest.

And, after all, what is a lie? ’Tis but the truth in masquerade.

- Lord Byron, 1822

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