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Jim Kershner’s this day in history

Fri., Jan. 17, 2014, midnight

From our archives, 100 years ago

The story of the bank swindler who went by the name Shackleford T. Miller kept getting stranger.

Attorney Henry D. Goldberg, who was arrested on suspicion of posing under the false name of Miller, gave a long jailhouse interview in which he tried to explain that his “client,” Miller, didn’t really swindle anyone. The bank tellers just made a mistake when they paid off his account twice in the same day. Police said that Goldberg closed out his account, waited for the teller to go to lunch, and went to the replacement teller and closed it out again.

Other details proved more difficult for Goldberg to explain. For one thing, the only “Shackleford Miller” police could locate was a judge and law professor in Kentucky – Goldberg’s former law professor in that state. When confronted, Goldberg said it was just a crazy coincidence: The judge was a beloved jurist who didn’t have the middle initial T., while Spokane’s Shackleford T. Miller was a German who can’t read and can’t write. His right hand had been amputated, which conveniently explained why Goldberg had to sign all of the bank documents in Shackleford T. Miller’s name.

The scam was foiled at one bank because the teller ate lunch at his counter, and at the other because both tellers recognized Goldberg.

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