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The Pitkin Affair: A Study of Fraud in Early English Bankruptcy

American Bankruptcy Law Journal, Vol. 84, p. 483, 2010

88 Pages Posted: 5 Jan 2011  

Date Written: January 3, 2011

Abstract

In 1705, two London merchants, Thomas Brerewood and Thomas Pitkin, attempted to pull off a massive bankruptcy fraud. Although the conspirators were quickly caught, unraveling the scam required three large insolvencies and four acts of Parliament over the course of more than forty years. Along the way, the Pitkin Affair and its aftereffects would test and expand the boundaries of then-existing bankruptcy law. This article presents the story of the Pitkin Affair as a parable to remind us that the current scandals with which we are confronted are not new. Neither are the reactions of the parties caught in the middle of the resulting financial catastrophe. Most lied; some cheated; and many could not let go of their sense of injustice and accept that their own misjudgment, and even greed, had also contributed to their losses.

Suggested Citation

Kadens, Emily, The Pitkin Affair: A Study of Fraud in Early English Bankruptcy (January 3, 2011). American Bankruptcy Law Journal, Vol. 84, p. 483, 2010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1734579

Emily Kadens (Contact Author)

Northwestern University School of Law ( email )

600 North Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60601
United States

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