After a 35-year criminal career, the Santa Claus forger was finally caught in Ottawa. But who was he?

  • Lucius Parmelee was sitting in the train station in Vars, just outside Ottawa, waiting for the next train to Montreal, when the stationmaster’s telephone rang.
  • Instead, he decided to take a taxi from Ottawa to Alexandria, then another cab to Coteau Junction, Que., south of Hudson, and then a train to Valleyfield.
  • Unfortunately, he was unaware that his taxi driver, Lionel Trottier, wary following a robbery in his car two months earlier, had called his cab company to notify them of his out-of-town fare.
  • He appeared in court the following day, pleading guilty to four counts of uttering forged cheques.
  • Born to middle-class parents in 1889 in Waterloo, Que., an hour’s drive south of Montreal, Parmelee described himself as the family black sheep, a social rebel who was easily offended and discouraged, and possessing little drive.
  • He settled down in Seattle for a few years, until he one day read about vanishing ink and decided to try using it at a bank — or, rather, four banks, on Christmas Eve, in Hamilton.

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