CommunityPeopleRon Baker

Fighting Fraud and Fake News

“It has been traditional for many of the Bakers, who are represented by our ancestors, to determine  whether or not they were related to others by the name  of Baker, to enquire whether they knew about “The Baker Fortune.”

So writes my uncle, Robert Baker, in his introduction to his studies of the Baker Fortune. He goes on . . .

“Folklore, not too remote, has it that a Jacob Becker or Baker, or a Henry Becker or Baker, was a Colonel in the Revolutionary Army [United States].”

In return for services, he was generously rewarded  by Government Grants which included a large part of  property which is now part of downtown Philadelphia  which contains Independence Hall, The United States Mint, John Wannamaker’s Store and several banks, the  cemetery where Benjamin Franklin is buried, about 300  acres in all. In addition he was granted 11,000 acres of coal, lead and zinc ore lands throughout Pennsylvania. This occurred about 1777.”

The Colonel apparently executed a 99 year lease on the  land, at which time the land would revert to his heirs. The Colonel had no direct lineal heirs, so in 1887 all  collateral heirs (any relatives near or far) would share equally in the abundance. All we had to do was to prove our relationship as descendants of his “brothers, sisters, a way you could be related! cousins and aunts.”

I’m rich! I’m sure I’m related! I’d better get a Philadelphia lawyer to help me out.

Fake News!! This was all a fraud – perpetrated from the early 1880’s up until 1937 when the “Baker Heirs Association” was brought to justice through the Post Master General’s office of the United States. How did the Association last for almost 60 years without being  caught!

1) Make the story as big as possible. We like to believe the impossible. If we are going to stake our lives and our fortunes on something – it had better be worth it. The perpetrators did not choose Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. Groundhogs might live there, but not much else!

2) Make the benefits as big as possible. We like to get as much as we can get. Reports that circulated around the Baker Fortune had estimates as high as $300 million dollars. And that was in 1917, which in 2020 dollars would be comparable to around $6 billion dollars.

3) Include as many as possible. We like crowds who assure us we are on the right path. And, even if you weren’t of the Baker lineage you were encouraged to join the Association. You never know – maybe there is a way you could be related!

4) Find a trusting crowd. Those who believe the best in  Bakers/Beckers targeted by the fraudsters were from a religious group that was pacifist, thought the best of others and lived forgiveness and love as their values.

Ask yourself: Is this too good to be-true? Do the benefits stretch belief? Am I included in receiving this good news because I legitimately have a stake in the benefits? Am I naive?

Read more by Ron HERE

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