On this day in 1891, Charles Wells was on a winning streak again at the Monte Carlo Casino.
But his past as a fraudster was already threatening to catch up with him. Exactly 125 years ago, a London magazine called Truth ran an article on Wells – the latest of many.
A fortnight ago [the editor wrote] I hazarded the opinion that the recent advertisement offering a return of £30,000 per month for an investment of £6,000 was the work of this rascal, with whose modus operandi most readers of Truth must by this time be familiar. It turns out that I was right. Several persons who have had the curiosity to answer the advertisement, sent me Wells’s replies. All are in identical terms, and actually promise that the amount of profits reaped (which, after a week, will be divided daily) will “far exceed” the fabulous sum named in the advertisement. If it is worth while for a detective to hunt down an “astrologer” who advertises for shillings, why is this Wells left free to defraud the public year after year? [Truth, 5 November 1891]
It is very clear that suspicions were already mounting, but at this point no-one was quite prepared to state that Wells, the fraudster, and Wells, the Monte Carlo bank breaker, were one and the same person. Before long, though, an enterprising journalist from the Evening News would show that this was indeed the case. The revelation would mark the beginning of turbulent times for Charles Deville Wells.