The offence of which these men were convicted, was that of forging and circulating an immense number of notes which were forged, but which purported to be genuine notes of the Austrian and Polish banks.
The prisoner Balls was an engraver residing in the neighbourhood of Clerkenwell, and he had been employed by Harris and Moses, both of whom were of the Jewish persuasion, the latter being a native of Poland, to prepare facsimiles of the notes of the Austrian and Polish banks, with a view to the preparation and circulation of forged instruments of the same description. An immense number of these notes had been already put into circulation before the apprehension of the prisoners; and M. Salzman, a cashier of the Austrian bank at Vienna, was despatched to London, from which place it was found the forged notes emanated, in order to take the necessary steps to secure the parties guilty of these fraudulent proceedings. Ruthven and Fletcher, the Bow-street officers, were employed by him to assist him in his inquiries; and in a short time, they succeeded in discovering the connexion of Harris, Moses, and Balls, with the forgeries. Their proceedings were in consequence watched for some time; but at length Balls and Harris were secured on Monday, the 16th of November 1835, at the Star Coffee-house, Crown-street, Finsbury, having in their possession a quantity of unfinished Austrian notes, and the necessary plates and other instruments to complete fac-simile representations of genuine notes. In the house of Harris, in Sadler's-court, Gravellane, Houndsditch, other instruments of a similar description, but which had been prepared to print Polish notes, were found, together with evidence which left no doubt of his guilt on both charges. On the 9th of November, Moses was also apprehended at the Strand Coffee-house, near Temple-bar, with a parcel in his possession containing like evidence of his guilt of the crime of forging and uttering notes of the Polish bank.
After several examinations at Bow-street, the prisoners were committed to Newgate, and they took their trial at the following Central Criminal Court Sessions, on Friday the 18th of December. The first case gone into was that of an indictment, which charged Moses, who was described under the alias Marcus Warshaur, Balls, and Harris, with forging and uttering notes of the Polish bank. The evidence was insufficient to support this charge, and they were acquitted. On the following day, however, Moses was tried upon an indictment, charging him with feloniously possessing copperplates engraved with a fictitious undertaking in the Polish language, to pay the sum of five guilders, (equal in value to 2s. 6d.), and a verdict of guilty was returned, after a trial of several hours' duration. Harris was on the same day tried upon an indictment charging him with uttering forged notes on the Polish bank, and he too was found guilty. On Monday, the 21st December, Balls was also tried and convicted; but further proceedings against the prisoners upon other indictments were delayed, until the opinion of the Judges should have been obtained upon certain objections which were taken to the indictments upon which they had been convicted.
On Wednesday, February the 3rd 1836, the prisoners were informed, that the objections taken in their favour were unavailing, and that they had been rightly convicted, and on the 10th of the same month, they were sentenced to transportation; Balls and Harris for life, and Moses for fourteen years.