Beware of Fraud! (Part II)

How to Detect FraudAs it turned out, Warner’s concern about imitators attempting to fraudulently steal his product were not without justification. In November, 1882, after having successfully beat back Dr. Charles Craig’s attempt to get back into the Kidney & Liver Cure business, Warner was contacted by a druggist in Chicago asking if his Cure ever soured. Given the alcohol content, the response was “no.”

Warner dispatched Harry Granger, his superintendent, to Chicago to investigate the specious Safe Cure. Granger discovered that the counterfeit cure was being sold in stores in both Chicago and Milwaukee. Warner warned his retailers by telegram to beware of the fraudulent product. Granger’s investigation led him a lithographer, one, Frank Roehr, who was found in possession of twenty-one cases of electroplates and dies for printing labels, pamphlets and circulars for Warner’s Safe Cure, as well as Lydia Pinkham’s Vegetable Compound, Hood’s Sarsaparilla, among others. Granger’s probe led to an outfit called the “Chicago Medicine Exchange.”  In addition to the counterfeit labels and advertising, Roehr was found in possession of various types of salacious literature and gambling cards.

As it turned out, Granger was precisely the agent Warner needed to root out the fraud. Before becoming Warner’s superintendent, he had worked for the United States Secret Service. The episode prompted Warner to expand his anti-counterfeiting forces and, as we have seen, to take his anti-fraud message directly to his customers in his almanacs and on his packaging. If there was a positive side to the whole thing for Warner, it no doubt convinced him (assuming he needed convincing), that his product had great market penetration after only three years in the public eye.

See Atwater drawing upon the reports of the Rochester Union and Advertiser of December 15, 1883.


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