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The confidence man who talked students out of $156.20 since Nov. 16 was found guilty on three counts of "larceny under false pretenses" and sentenced to six months in the House of Correction on each count. The sentences, which were handed down yesterday in Cambridge's Third District Court, will run concurrently.
Using the name "Fitzroy Herbert" he visited rooms in the Houses, claiming to be a student in need of funds to travel back to his university, which he alternately described as the University of Illinois, Columbia, Chicago, and Tufts. In reality, he was an erstwhile student at Massachusetts Art School.
Early last week he visited some students in Kirkland House, claiming to be from the University of Chicago. The students refused his request for money and after he left called Chicago to confirm their suspicions.
Wednesday night he returned to the same room. While he talked with two of the students the third summoned the University police, who arrested him for trespassing.
In court yesterday morning 11 students offered to sign complaints, but only three finally pressed charges. University Police Lt. George Walsh, who entered the original trespassing complaint, testified on behalf of the students.
"Herbert" pleaded guilty on all counts and was given the six month sentences almost immediately. It was revealed that he had been on probation for another larceny count; the judge suspended the remaining six months of his probation. (This means effectively that there will be no appeal, since a cancellation of probation cannot be appealed.)
The "false pretenses" charge proceeded from his use of a false name and the fact that he was not a student at the time he claimed.
Although police were aware of his confidence activities, the danger of a false arrest suit prompted Walsh to have him arrested only for trespassing "to insure his appearing in court." Once in court, it became possible to present evidence to support the larceny charges.
University Police Chief Robert Tonis stated yesterday that the CRIMSON article of last week contributed to the successful prosecution. The article had given a description of "Herbert" and his operations.
Though at the time and Institute was founded one benefit that observers felt might arise from it would be an increase in the contact between students and older people who had achieved some measure of distinction, the primary purpose of the Institute was not to further this end. Rather, the Institute was started to give talented women who had interrupted their academic careers a chance to return to scholarly activities.
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