Workshop: Ransom Notes, Counterfeiters & Other Paperwork

who: Ellen Schuetzner
what: Forensic Document Examiner
where: Centuries & Sleuths Bookstore
why: Sisters in Crime meeting, Chicagoland

It’s never boring when my local chapter of Sisters in Crime gets together. From crime scene cleanup to maggots to cops, murder meds, and more, we know how to have a good time.

Our last meeting was no exception.

One of the 9/11 anthrax letters.
One of the 9/11 anthrax letters.
Part of the Hitler Diaries (later proven to be counterfeit)
Part of the Hitler Diaries (later proven to be counterfeit).
The JonBenet Ramsey ransom note.
The JonBenet Ramsey ransom note.

Ellen Schuetzner is a veteran document examiner who has worked on countless cases over the years from medical malpractice to the mob. She spoke to us about the dying art of handwriting and how difficult it is to forge a signature.

“Two questions I always ask first,” she says. “What is the age of the writer at the time of the sample and what is the medical situation.”

"I cannot watch CSI."
“I cannot watch CSI.”

She’s worked on numerous IRS cases, as well as assigned an intern to reassembling shredded documents. (That case took two people three months.)

Basically, she says, "If it can be made, it can be counterfeited."
Basically, she says, “If it can be made, it can be counterfeited.”

A truly engrossing talk on a fascinating subject.

Enhance. Enhance.
Enhance. Enhance.
Enhance!
Enhance!

When’s the next Josie book coming out? Soon! If you sign up for my newsletter, you’ll be in the know.

One thought on “Workshop: Ransom Notes, Counterfeiters & Other Paperwork

  1. That talk sounds like it was so much fun. Maybe I should join Sisters in Crime, although flying in from Europe to attend a conference in Chicago would be quite expensive. I understand what Ellen means when she says she can’t watch CSI. I used to work as a prosecuting attorney and can’t watch most crime shows without standing up and objecting.

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