Is a Missouri Grandma Behind the Graceland Scam?

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Elvis Presley's Graceland estate was allegedly going on the auction block in May.  - Credit: GAB Archive/Redferns/Getty
Elvis Presley's Graceland estate was allegedly going on the auction block in May. - Credit: GAB Archive/Redferns/Getty

The history of pop music is littered with crazy yarns, and Elvis Presley and his wild life weren’t exempt. But the ongoing saga of the Presley family took an especially strange turn last month, when a mysterious company announced a foreclosure sale of Graceland, the 14-acre home and property in Memphis that Presley bought in 1957. Since his death in 1977, Graceland has become a major tourist attraction, and its ownership was later transferred to Presley’s daughter, Lisa Marie.

Months after her death in January 2023, however, a company no one had ever heard of announced it was foreclosing on the property. Graceland’s current owner, Lisa Marie’s daughter Riley Keough, immediately took legal action, and a Tennessee court halted the suspicious sale. Still, the whole ordeal left many hunka, hunka burning questions in its wake.

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Who tried to sell Elvis Presley’s Graceland?

According to legal paperwork filed by Keough’s camp in May, a mysterious entity calling itself Naussany Investments & Private Lending LLC claimed that it was about to put Graceland on the auction block. The company claimed that the late Lisa Marie had supposedly borrowed $3.8 million from Naussany, using Graceland as collateral. In September 2023, the company filed court papers in California listing Lisa Marie Presley’s debt and a document allegedly signed by her. With Presley dead, Naussany supposedly wanted its money back, and a sale of the property was initially announced for May.

Who owns Graceland anyway?

For a long time, Graceland was owned by Lisa Marie Presley, who inherited the property when she turned 25 in 1993. In 2005, Presley sold an 85 percent interest in Elvis Presley Enterprises to the company that also owned American Idol, but she retained ownership of Graceland and other family possessions. Later, Joel Weinshanker, who made his name in the collectibles business as founder of the National Entertainment Collectibles Association, was put in charge of EPE, including overseeing Graceland (Lisa Marie, however, still owned it). When Lisa Marie died in 2023, Keough became Graceland’s new overseer. Lisa Marie’s mother, Priscilla, initially disputed the ownership issues, but the matter was resolved out of court. Keough was named sole trustee of Lisa Marie Presley’s estate (and owner of Graceland), with twin sisters Harper and Finley (who are still teenagers, both from Lisa Marie’s marriage to Michael Lockwood) named sub-trusts.

How was the Graceland sale stopped?

Attorneys for Keough stopped the sale by way of a lawsuit claiming that Naussany was, in their words, “a false entity.” In court papers, Keough’s lawyer wrote, “Lisa Marie Presley never borrowed money from Naussany Investments and never gave a deed of trust to Naussany Investments” and claimed that loan documents were “fraudulent” and included forgeries of Lisa Marie’s signatures. Elvis Presley Enterprises issued a statement saying, “There is no foreclosure sale.”

Numerous media outlets, including Rolling Stone, The New York Times, and NBC News, reached out to two email addresses for Naussany that were included in court documents. Those sent from RS on two separate occasions were either unanswered or bounced back.

The mystery continued in court: At a Tennessee hearing after Keough’s attorneys filed their lawsuit, no one representing Naussany showed up. The Memphis Commercial Appeal then reported it had received an email “riddled with grammatical errors” from someone named Gregory Naussany, saying the company was “withdrawing all claims with prejudice.” (“Gregory” also claimed he was not the same “Kurt” who was the initial company contact.)

What happened after the Graceland sale was blocked?

Both The New York Times and NBC News eventually received a response to emails from someone claiming to be a dark-web scammer based in Nigeria. “We figure out how to steal,” the person wrote to the Times. “That’s what we do,” adding, “I had fun figuring this one out and it didn’t succeed very well.” As the Times noted, though, the filing was faxed from a number in North America. Another note said, “We sit back and laugh at you idiots and watch you make fools of yourselves. Come find us in Nigeria.” With that, the case appeared to be closed.

Was a grandmother in Missouri behind the Graceland scam?

Last week, NBC News posted an in-depth investigative report that pointed to the scammer as possibly “a grandmother in Branson, Missouri, a con woman with a decades-long rap sheet of romance scams, forged checks and bank fraud totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars, for which she did time in state and federal prison.”

According to the report, the woman had been a nursing assistant, among other jobs, but also claimed she’d been “an EMT, a hairdresser and an underwater welder” and had spent time in jail for “stealing checks and credit cards, committing fraud, running con games [and] intimidating witnesses.” She “appeared to use the name Naussany to post negative reviews for people and businesses she didn’t like,” NBC reported, adding, “It’s puzzling to consider how [she] might have graduated from small-time hustling of boyfriends and big-box stores to an attempt at multimillion-dollar fraud and the theft of one of the country’s most beloved landmarks.”

In early June, NBC News tracked the woman down in a trailer park in Branson, Missouri, and presented her with its findings; she claimed she had been the victim of identity theft and had “no earthly idea” what the reporter was talking about. Immediately after, according to NBC, the woman issued a “cease and desist” to the network for “any and all defamation, slander and/or libel … Failure to comply with this cease and desist request, and/or return the signed assurance ‘within the stipulated time’ will leave me no other alternative but to pursue any and all available legal and equitable remedies available to protect my character and/or reputation and my family.” (Attempts by RS to reach the woman were unsuccessful.)

What happens to Graceland now?

It’s still in the Presley family. As for any possible investigation into what went down, Rolling Stone reached out to the Tennessee Attorney General’s office for an update. “The Tennessee Attorney General’s Office looked into the Graceland matter, and it quickly became apparent that this was a matter best suited for federal law enforcement,” a spokesperson told RS. “We have faith in our federal partners and know they will handle this appropriately.” In what it called its “standard rule,” the FBI also told RS it would not comment on the “possibility or likelihood” of any investigation.

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