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ROBBED HENRY FORD TO AID COLLEGE BOYS

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Topics:  George W. Pemmitt, Ford Motor Company

ROBBED HENRY FORD TO AID COLLEGE BOYS

The New York Times
December 5, 1922


Factory Timekeeper Padded Payroll and Sent Money to Michigan Students.

THEN STOLE FOR HIMSELF

Loss $10,000 to $20,000—He Pleads Guilty, but Youths, After Restitution, May Go Free.

Special to The New York Times.

DETROIT, Mich., Dec. 4.—With the arrest and confession today of George W. Pemmitt, timekeeper at the River Rouge plant of the Ford Motor Company, payroll frauds which may reach $20,000 have been uncovered.

Pemmitt, arraigned this evening, pleaded guilty to a specific charge of defrauding the Ford Company out of $2,466.37.  He was held for the next term of Circuit Court in $5,000 bail.

Pemmitt, according to his story, used eleven men as accomplices in his frauds, two of them University of Michigan students.  According to Chief Richard Burguson's report of the confession, Pemmitt kept the eleven men on the payroll after they left the plant on Sept. 1, thus defrauding the Ford company out of $10,000 in three months.

Each of the eleven has made restitution of his share of the spoils, $350 and upward, say the police, who believe that Pemmitt kept the rest.  Ford officials, checking up the books, declare there is a further shortage of $10,000, but that May lot be chargeable to Pemmitt.

The timekeeper is said to have explained that at first he was actuated by a desire to help college students through school.  Later, however, he desired to enrich himself, as it appeared so easy.

"Two of the University of Michigan men who were in with me are orphans," reads the confession the police gave out.  "I learned from them that they had no one to see them through.  They were intelligent boys and I saw that they had an opportunity to become great men of they didn't have to worry about money.  I was a time clerk with ambitions.  I realized, though, that they had the chance in the world that I didn't have.  I did not have the money they needed to see them thorough college, so I decided to steal it.

"About the end of August, I learned they were going back to college with not enough money for the year, so I told them to go to Ann Arbor and I would help them.  They have me their time cards and I turned them in to the paymaster's office regularly and got their pay.  I sent most of the money to them.

"Then I began to go out a little.  I found that I needed more money.  I saw I was getting away with their time cards, so I began to approach others who were leaving the company.  By Sept. 15, I had the cards of eleven men.  I paid them for the cards, and had another fellow in the office who got the money.

"I don't care what they do to me.  I hope they look after my mother and sister."

According to police at Springwells, Pemmitt is the sole support of his mother and sister.  In a later confession to Robert M. Toms, Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, he is said to have admitted that he spent some of the money for an automobile and paid $85 a month for an apartment occupied by a woman friend.

It is said that the two Michigan student accomplices have repaid $1,000 each and will make up the balance that they received.  It is not thought that they will be prosecuted.



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