June 29, 1933

Swedesboro Farmer's Wife Freed of Accusation Made by Camden Man

Camden Courier-Post - June 28, 1933

Defense, Calls 12 Character Witnesses in Trial at Woodbury

Woodbury, June 27- Defense in the trial of Mrs. Alice C. Roberts, Swedesboro, charged with forgery and uttering, was started shortly be, for criminal court adjourned today with the calling of a dozen character witnesses.         

Mrs. Roberts is being tried on one of nine indictments returned by the May Grand Jury. George W. Miller, 63, former farmhand, accuses her of forging his mark to a check for $10 dated July 29, 1931, and drawn on the Swedesboro Trust Company,  

In his short opening to the jury of 12 men, George B; Marshall said he would show that Miller asked Mrs. Roberts frequently to draw checks for him and that each time he always touched the pen, He said Miller asked the woman to do so, after he had gone to the bank him self previously and came home dissatisfied.

Lives In Camden.  

Miller now lives at 577 Stevens Street, Camden. He testified he went to work on the Roberts farm in May, 1926. On direct examination he denied he signed the check in question or placed his mark on it,  

"Did you ever sign any checks at the Roberts home when Mrs. Roberts witnessed your mark?"            


"Did you ever authorize her to sign or put your mark or checks?"  


He admitted Mrs. Roberts helped him make a check for $106.50 in a Philadelphia department store in February, 1928, but that was the only check she helped him make, he said.  

"Didn't Mrs. Roberts go to the bank and get money and give it to you to put in your wallet?"  

“Not for me."

"How do you know this particular check is not yours?"

"By the cross,"

He said he used only yellow checks, and other checks introduced into evidence were blue.  

Contradicts Himself 

Marshall asked Miller if he testified before Justice of the Peace Fred Gravino last February that he permitted Mrs. Roberts to draw money from the bank with his cross on checks. Miller denied he made that statement. Stenographic records, of the hearing before Gravino contradicted his testimony. 

Miller said the check drawn in the department store was for silver for Mrs. Roberts and she never paid him back.  

Webster A. Melcher, handwriting expert, testified the marks on the $10 check and mark made on "standards" by Miller were not made by the same person.  

Paul Peterson, secretary and treasurer of the Swedesboro bank, said Miller withdrew $2640.40 from his account during his several years in that section. Eight other checks were introduced into evidence by the prosecution. 

The defense conceded that all nine checks were in the handwriting of Mrs. Roberts, excepting where the mark was made..

Camden Courier-Post - June 29, 1933

Swedesboro Farmer's Wife Freed of Accusation Made by Camden Man

A jury of 12 men returned a verdict of not guilty at 3:55 p. m. yesterday on charges of forgery brought against Mrs. Olive S. Roberts, wife of a prominent Swedesboro farmer. The case was in common pleas court before Judge J. Forman Sinnickson.

Mrs. Roberts was not in court when the verdict was brought in. She had become hysterica1 shortly after the afternoon session opened.

As her lawyer closed his case to the jury, Mrs. Roberts collapsed and had to be assisted from. the courtroom. She was accused of forging the name of George W. Miller, 63, of 577 Stevens Street, Camden, to checks.

Mrs. Roberts bad been sobbing most of the morning and broke down just as court adjourned for the noon recess. A woman companion and court constable assisted her from the court.  

After being shown the nine checks alleged to have been forged by her with a cross mark, Miller not being able to write, Mrs. Roberts said:

"He held the pen and I guided it at his request." She added that the checks were made out by her and that she signed Miller's name on them, but that he always held the pen to make the mark.

When asked why she assisted Miller in drawing the checks, she declared he had been told at the Swedesboro Trust Co. he was reducing his account and not replacing it; and that he became angry and asked her to go with him to the bank.

Mrs. Edna McCormick of Philadelphia, an employee of a Philadelphia. department store, testified that Mrs. Roberts, accompanied by Miller, purchased silverware of her in February. 1928, and that Mrs. Roberts made out a check for $106 in her presence. She said that Miller held the pen while his mark was made.

That check is the only one which Miller admits Mrs. Roberts helped him to make. Testifying Tuesday he said the check was a loan and that Mrs. Roberts, never repaid it.

Mrs. McCormick declared the check was not used to pay for Mrs. Roberts' purchases and said she could not remember whether there had been another check drawn on Mrs. Roberts' account.

Miller went to work on the Roberts farm in May, 1926, and worked there until last January. During that time, it was testified by Paul Peterson, secretary and treasurer of the Swedesboro Trust Co., $2640.40 was withdrawn from his account.

Nineteen character witnesses, most of them from Woodstown, where the Roberts formerly lived, testified Tuesday for Mrs. Roberts. Mrs. Roberts was indicted by the May grand jury. Both she and her husband charge the complaint is a conspiracy.