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Vol. 8 - Issue 4
April 30, 2019


Elvis, E-Mail Spoofing And Crime Coverage

Thank You To Cincinnati’s Go Bananas Comedy Club For Its Hospitality




Thank You To Cincinnati’s Go Bananas Comedy Club For Its Hospitality

I found myself in Cincinnati last week for reasons of business.  Thank you so much to Go Bananas Comedy Club for finding a spot for this out-of-towner on its Pro-Am Showcase.  What a great club!   It combines audience intimacy, low ceilings (so the laughs don’t float away), a great sound system, really neat décor and super nice people to make for a wonderful experience.  If you are in Cincy, do yourself a favor and check out Go Bananas.



Elvis, E-Mail Spoofing And Crime Coverage

Richard Billings, of Minot, North Dakota, was considered, by those who considered such things, the nation’s leading expert on proof that Elvis Presley was still alive.  Billings had spent decades unearthing evidence that he believed established that the King faked his own death on August 16, 1977.  Billings had a website that contained photos, voice recordings (with voice analysis experts), DNA evidence, witnesses accounts to Elvis sightings and other information that he believed established that Elvis did not leave this earth in 1977.  Billings also had confidential information, from those very close to Elvis, that the star was burned out, felt trapped by his celebrity and simply wanted a simpler life.  The only solution was to lead the world to believe that he had forever left the building.

On January 17, 2018, Billings received an email from earonp@gmail.com that read as follows:


Richard Billings read the e-mail dozens of times.  While he understood that it could be a fraud, he could not get out of his mind that the sender's email address was earonp@gmail.com.  Elvis considered his middle name to be Aron, spelled with one "a" only.  This, Elvis did, as a tribute to his twin brother, Jesse Garon, who died stillborn.  Despite this, the public spelled Aaron the Biblical way.  Even Elvis's tombstone is spelled Aaron.

Richard could not believe that a scammer would know to spell Aron with a single "a."  Based on this, he wired $25,000 to Elvis.  Richard eventually came to believe that he had been scammed.

Richard, seeking to recover the money lost, made a claim for coverage under his Crime policy with Bismark Mutual Insurance Company.  The policy provided coverage as follows: "The Company will pay the Insured for the Insured's direct loss of, or direct loss from damage to, Money, Securities and Other Property directly caused by Computer Fraud."  The policy defined "Computer Fraud" to mean: "The use of any computer to fraudulently cause a transfer of Money, Securities or Other Property from inside the Premises or Financial Institution Premises: 1. to a person (other than a Messenger) outside the Premises or Financial Institution Premises; or 2. to a place outside the Premises or Financial Institution Premises."

Bismark Mutual disclaimed coverage, arguing that Billings could not prove that his loss had been caused by a fraudulent transfer of money.  Bismark maintained that, because Billings had spent decades, and substantial money, in asserting that Elvis Presley was alive, he could not have believed that he had been fraudulently induced into sending money to the sender identified as "earonp."        

Richard filed suit against Bismark Mutual Insurance Company.  In a recent decision in Billings v. Bismark Mutual Insurance Company, No. 18-2365 (Ward Cty. N.D. Apr. 9, 2017), the court found in favor of the insurer.  The court held as follows:

"The content of plaintiff's website demonstrates an individual as confident that Elvis Presley is alive as that the sun rises in the east.  It was on this basis that plaintiff wired $25,000 to "earonp."  In return, Plaintiff was to receive knowledge that, for the rest of Elvis's days, the legendary singer would have plaintiff's kindness in his heart.  Simply put, plaintiff, having spent so long believing that Elvis is alive, cannot prove that he was fraudulently induced to wire the money.  Nothing from this transaction changes the mountain of evidence that plaintiff purports proves that Elvis is alive.  Therefore, plaintiff cannot now change course, for the benefit of his claim, and maintain that the sender of the e-mail was not Elvis Aron Presley."  Billings at 4.


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