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title: 'The Day book. (Chicago, Ill.) 1911-1917, December 08, 1911, Image 11',
meta: 'News about Chronicling America - RSS Feed',
Image provided by: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL
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HOW THE AVERAGE LOAN
SHARK DOES BUSINESS
The loan shark parasite flour
ishes openly in the city of Chi
cago. And their operations are
assisted by the local newspapers,
who publish advertisements of
their piratical business.
Numerous people who have
been bilked report their cases to
the Legal Aid society, and ask for
assistance in settling their debts.
The following story of misery
dealt by these loan companies is
not unusual, Taut seldpm do they
get before the public.
It is a -tale of how a loan shark
for 15 years continued to collect
from a woman on a debt of $25,
until he had succeeded in wring
ing from her morel than $500.
His extortion was only stopped
by his own death, and when his
son attempted to continue the
collections the. woman called in
the Legal Aid society. And the
society, through threats of pro
secution, compelled the son to
drop the note.
In 1896 John H. Murphy, jr.,
bought a suit of clothes. He was
then 21. His father was an en
gineer on a small salaty, and had
warned his son not to buy on
credit. The suit was broughjon
credit for $25.
The boy was unable to pay, and
kept his troubles to himself for
three months. Then he went to
his' mother. The mother feared
that if the father found out he
would drive the son from home.
And she loved her son. To her
the situation seemed desperate.
A And then she went to the loan
shark. His name was John CulT
len, and he lived at 1145 Blue
Island avenue. He was glad to
see the woman. He loaned her
the $25, with the explanation that
the fee would be but 10 per cent
a month. The debt was paid. The
boy was saved. But the mother's
troubles had just "begun.
Cullen knew she wanted to con-
ceal thefect of the loan from her
husband. He had also discovered
that Mrs. Murphy could neither
read nor write.
After a period of desperate pri
vation, Mrs. Mutphy had paid alii
but $5. She would soon have it all
settled. That didn't suit Cullen.-
A usurious rate of 10 per cent
was not enough. He called at the
woman's house and demanded
immediate payment of the re-
mainder of the note. She didn't
have $5. He didn't Svant her to
Mrs. Murphy had but $2. Cul-t
len threatened. He declared he
would tell her husband. Fearful
of exposure, she signed a renewal
of the note with her mark.
Cullen always made it a point
to call when the father and an
other son Joseph J. Murphy,
were not at home. Mrs. Murphy r
always paid when she had the
money. When she didn't have it'
she signed renewals. That suited f
the shark better.
Nov. 25, 1911, Cullen died. But
the note went on. The next day?
Cullen's son called at the Murphy
residence, 3851 Harvard street
to collect. ,
Joseph Murphy was at home.'
He heard the shark's son bullying