The Hypnotic Cassie Chadwick

In Early 1900s, She Swindled Millions and Left Ruined Men in her Wake

By By Joseph T. Wells, CFE, CPA

Editor's note: This chapter is excerpted from the book, "Frankensteins of Fraud," copyright 2000 by Joseph T. Wells, CFE, CPA, the Association's founder and Chairman. 

"Shall I create another, like yourself, whose joint wickedness might desolate the world? ...Your evil passions will be renewed, and you will then have a companion to aid you in the task of destruction." 

Viktor Frankenstein 

On a cool sunny afternoon in late April 1905, U.S. Attorney John J. Sullivan paced in front of the jury box. Twelve men listened as Sullivan framed for them their duty. "There is no law in this country so well settled as the law governing conspiracies to rob national banks without the use of dynamite," Sullivan proclaimed, his spirits buoyed by the nodding heads of the jurymen. 

"You have before you today, what twelve men may in this country never have had before them in all criminal history  “ a criminal of conspicuous note  “ a notorious and dangerous character  “ the fate of whom never was determined before by any jury in any court, this Duchess of Diamonds, the most dangerous criminal known to human society today." 

From across the courtroom she glared, enveloped in black, as if she mourned for her own wretched person. Beneath a black silk taffeta shawl she wore a black dress, also silk, its hemline obscuring the laces of her stiletto-heeled boots. Wide combs, their teeth carved in ebony wood, pulled her gray-striped hair back severely from her face, where her reedy lips frowned. Occasionally her mouth twitched as Mr. Sullivan snapped one epithet after another into the brittle air of the courtroom. Beside the woman ™s chair, a parasol leaned against a black hat, its narrow brim fashioned from Milan straw, topped by a floppy crown of layered silk. 

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