Opry Legend Identity Thief Could Have Numerous Victims
By Adam Ghassemi
HENDERSONVILLE, Tenn. – Johnny Lee Presley spent Wednesday in a Gallatin courtroom looking very different than the way Kathy Crowe remembers.
"He looked like a very, very old Elvis Presley," Crowe recalled.
Crowe owns Hendersonville-based Essence Lighting and has a thick file on the man who she said walked into her store two years ago and instantly started lying.
"He said, do you know who I am? I said, I have no clue. So he just said well I'm Elvis' cousin and I'm building a house and I want it to look like Vegas baby," she said. "I mean, he just put on the whole show."
Police arrested Presley last month for targeting country music stars by using their names to open credit cards. Detectives said he had statements sent to P.O. boxes to go undetected.
Presley currently faces charges for stealing Stonewall Jackson's identity, but there could be many others, including Little Jimmy Dickens.
Crowe worries the number could be astronomical. She said last September Presley claimed he needed money for open heart surgery, and wanted her to sell warehouses full of high-end items on consignment.
"He said that a lot of it was his father's. He claimed his father was Jon Landau, who was Shania Twain's manager and Bruce Springsteen's manager and that when his father died he inherited all this," she said Wednesday.
"For this man to come in and try to bastardize, of all things, the name of Elvis Presley, Shania Twain, oh and by the way Dolly Parton. He also had some Dolly Parton stories. It just made me sick."
Hendersonville Police started investigating Presley last summer. Detectives said there could be nearly a dozen stars at risk who are all members of the Grand Ole Opry.