Greg Lloyd Smith, William Victor Bernson III, AKA . . . Legion

Elizabeth Boleman-Herring

Ruminant With A View

by Elizabeth Boleman-Herring

“Nemo Me Impune Lacessit/None provokes me with impunity”

 

Elizabeth Boleman-HerringTEANECK, NJ—(Weekly Hubris)—4/19/10—When the Feds arrived at Dean’s and my front door here in New Jersey last week, I’d been expecting them for years. Some 20 years.

The Men in Black don’t call first. They’re soft-spoken and dead-serious, and they show you their badges politely, but they show up, when all your cars are in the driveway, unannounced. And, then, they come in, invited, sit down, and begin to ask you the questions derived from the information they’ve amassed. About your longtime “friend,” and former publisher (and, before that, former employee, at The Athenian magazine), a man whose “real” name, whose birth name, you have never known, and may not know for some time to come.

Ironically, the man’s most recent publishing venture, www.OfficialWire.com, for which I was listed as Editor-In-Chief for two years, has, as its epigraphs: 1) Nemo Me Impune Lacessit, or None provokes me with impunity; and 2) Lying is the greatest of sins (Alfred Nobel).

And Greg Lloyd Smith, aka William Victor Bernson, III, (aka Jennifer Monroe, aka Dr. Tobias Bernstein, etc., etc.), as his many victims will attest, is the very embodiment of both slogans: he is quick to anger, attacks anyone presuming to question or check him with vigor and venom . . . and almost everything he says one may presume to be a lie.

Bill is a con-man, a sociopath, and I suppose I knew this almost from the beginning. But I was the sociopath’s best buddy. I was the conscience that walked outside his body. At least, so I imagined. I, too, was conned; and conned myself. I’m not proud of it now.

Bill Bernson, Mykonos, 2006

Bill Bernson, Mykonos, 2006

His autobiography, Footnotes To A Scoundrel [sic], written under one of his legion of aliases, Brian Richards, and currently unavailable for sale (Will a sequel, or a more accurate prequel, be written from prison, I wonder?) depicts him, as well, as a sinner of the first water—a man who has left women, children, business partners, creditors, et al, in the lurch since he conceived his first scam, conned his first mark, deceived his first wife. Back there in Boston, MA, I’d guess, from his accent and vocabulary. (“Hiya,” was his preferred greeting.)

Google him now, under Greg Lloyd Smith, and you will find some 843,000 entries, a few of which attempt pitifully to flesh out the “man no one has actually met,” the man I, in fact, met, in 1989, in Athens, and worked with on “Greece’s English Language Monthly.” At the time, all I knew for sure was that Bill was very, very bright (with an IQ I’d place at 180-190), very, very funny, and involved with a very, very pregnant Englishwoman, whom he would shortly marry. One of the only photographs I have of him where he’s facing the camera—a telling fact, that, in retrospect—is of the couple and their new baby, sitting on my Laura Ashley sofa in the Greek capital.

The only other extant and recognizable photo of him that I know of dates from 2006, on Mykonos, where he and I were working on OfficialWire, and where he was living with his Greek wife, Katarina, and their three small children. What happened to “Wife Number One”—if, indeed, she was Wife Number One—I do not know.

In fact, as I told the Men in Black, I know only what “Bill” told me; only what he allowed me to know. He talked a blue streak to me, always, and is on record as saying I was his “Necessary Evil.” (My husband saved all his e-mails over the years.) I suspect, like most sociopaths, he needed one confidante, one person with whom he could be his best self. And he needed, always, my editorial skills, as many of his online ventures involved churning out a lot of copy, fast and clean. I wrote for his online –zine; my writer-friends wrote for me for his online –zine; Bill’s publishing company, Origin of Books, brought out print-on-demand and Kindle editions of several of my books.

For a while, our working relationship actually worked. OfficialWire was read. I imagined the other writers and I were doing good work.

During those years, though, I didn’t know how dark was his dark side.

Certainly, Bill would every now and then try to rope me into working, hard, for him, without pay (on W3Rez; and Mayside—a business that developed surveys for clients; for a fledgling clone of Bikram Yoga he called Hot Yoga), but I was not to be conned.

On occasion, too, I witnessed his anger at those who crossed him—against: Drossoula Elliott, one of the owners of The Athenian; a pair of Mykonian brothers who ran a car rental firm (when they reneged on a contract with Bill, he directed their online business to a porn site); Jeff Bezos, the founder of www.amazon.com, whom Bill took on in the Greek and US courts; and a member of the UK House of Lords who, Bill claimed, had conned him out of the ownership of a bank (a story detailed in Bernson’s second book, Crooked Knight, also currently unavailable).

I suspect both Footnotes To A Scoundrel and Crooked Knight will soon become collectors’ items, and Bill’s life and fast times the subject of a film along the lines of “Catch Me If You Can.”

Apparently, and I don’t believe the FBI lies, even while deposing the innocent, the charming, funny sociopath I once knew in Athens is now behind bars in England (or Wales, his last known address). And, since he is wanted in at least four countries that I know of, myself, I think he will remain behind one set of bars or another for some time to come.

Though it is very, very hard for me to believe it’s all come to this . . . .

I told the FBI what I knew, when they asked what I knew, because, when I became a Reiki Master and a practicing Yogini, I swore a vow to tell the truth. I don’t necessarily always volunteer the truth, and I had long assured Bill that, unless he abandoned Katarina and the children or injured me and mine, or anyone else I knew, his secrets would remain with me. I weighed the man’s rather puerile rages and rants against the welfare of three small people he obviously loved and, then, even when he turned on me and fired all my authors, from one day to the next, taking my writing, my archive of work for OfficialWire, and my books down from amazon . . . none of it seemed sufficient cause to out him.

But, outted he was, though the Men in Black would not say how, or even, precisely, where and when. For my own good. Too, they asked that I not “reach out to him,” or to his family. No worries, I said.

I don’t know what his last-known wife knew. I don’t even know if she knew she was not married to “Greg Lloyd Smith.” Bill spun me an elaborate tale about losing his case against Bezos in the US courts and assuming a dead man’s identity to escape imprisonment. (Having little love for Bezos, and a lot of respect for a man who bought up amazon.gr, toyota.gr, fiat.gr, etc., etc., etc., before Bezos thought to do it, himself, I believed Bill’s story.)

So, had I the power to do so, I’d give Katarina the benefit of the doubt. I’d let her go back to her family in Greece, and bring up the children in a peaceful, normal environment. Even if she did figure out she was married to a monster, what could she do, with three children to care for? And to whom is, was, she in fact married?

To many he has burned, I now know Bill has been a monster. But, just as surely, I also know he was born a sociopath, and had no choice in that matter. As I told the Feds, if the decision were in my hands, I’d pack him off to prison for his crimes, but I’d allow him to, somehow, use his intelligence working for the US Government, as opposed to simply filthy lucre.

Like the protagonist played by Leonardo di Caprio in “Catch Me If You Can,” Frank Abagnale, Jr., Bill has great gifts. Seemingly devoid of formal education (I imagine the nuns kicking him out of parochial school in Boston in c. the eighth grade, and him living by his wits after that), he carved out (and trashed) several million-dollar empires during the time I knew him.

With his mental acuity, inventiveness and brilliance—and in the care of a gifted shrink—is there not some way this man could better repay his debts than by rotting in a series of dark cells, plotting escape and revenge?

I cannot imagine Bill confined for life. I’ve never seen him not beat a system set up to contain him. That’s both part of the glory of this aging enfant terrible, and the worry. If only just his dark side might “go away for a long, long time,” leaving the light free to play, we’d all be safer.

(Bill Bernson photo by Elizabeth Boleman-Herring/Copyright, Elizabeth Boleman-Herring/No use without specific, written permission.)

Elizabeth Boleman-Herring

About Elizabeth Boleman-Herring

Elizabeth Boleman-Herring, Publishing-Editor of “Weekly Hubris,” considers herself an Outsider Artist (of Ink). The most recent of her 15-odd books is The Visitors’ Book (or Silva Rerum): An Erotic Fable, now available in a third edition on Kindle. Thirty years an academic, she has also worked steadily as a founding-editor of journals, magazines, and newspapers in her two homelands, Greece, and America. Three other hats Boleman-Herring has at times worn are those of a Traditional Usui Reiki Master, an Iyengar-Style Yoga teacher, a HuffPost columnist and, as “Bebe Herring,” a jazz lyricist for the likes of Thelonious Monk, Kenny Dorham, and Bill Evans. (Her online Greek travel guide is still accessible at www.GreeceTraveler.com, and her memoir, Greek Unorthodox: Bande a Part & A Farewell To Ikaros, is available through www.GreeceInPrint.com.) Boleman-Herring makes her home with the Rev. Robin White; jazz trumpeter Dean Pratt (leader of the eponymous Dean Pratt Big Band); Calliope; and Scout . . . in her beloved Up-Country South Carolina, the state James Louis Petigru opined was “too small for a republic and too large for an insane asylum.” (Author Photos by Robin White.)
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

27 Responses to Greg Lloyd Smith, William Victor Bernson III, AKA . . . Legion

  1. Avatar Catharina V Leeuwen says:

    Halelujah e. tell the FBI that as of now he is wanted in the Low Country’s too if only for the short while that he kept me in suspense concerning a translation of my book (Water with the Ouzo)…celebrations are on its way :>)

    me aghapi,
    Cath

  2. Avatar ftg says:

    Hmm, I’ve known a few sociopaths. And, I’m sad to say that they are able to con anyone. Especially those sent to somehow upright them.

  3. Avatar eboleman-herring says:

    Cath, I actually think he IS wanted in Holland. . .for much more serious things. It’s amazing to me that google has not yet picked up this story, too. e

  4. Avatar Nini says:

    pretty crazy story. I’m glad you are ‘ free’ of him, with him being locked away. Hard to believe there are such people as part of Mankind !!!!!!!!!! Stay well,

  5. hnoakes hnoakes says:

    I remember “Greg’s” rants, his responses and silences when I wrote to ask a question, or question his POV. It was particularly disturbing when he engaged in racial epithets and diatribes against the “monstrous US”. The sad fact is that this is a man who is terrified of his humanity, of his weaknesses, and of being vulnerable.
    It is a great shame that someone so intelligent chose to misuse his talents and did not seek help. I feel very sorry for his children and his wife (as you indicated, even if she knew about the extent of his transgressions, she really couldn’t do much about it). Let’s hope that he seeks help now, and that the British penal system provides it.

  6. Avatar eboleman-herring says:

    I’ve spoken, at length, to several mental health professionals about Bill–his real name, as far as I know. They concur that sociopaths ARE capable of a certain degree of empathy: hence Bill’s concern, for years, about my wellbeing, and his love for his children. So, he has the capacity for shared humanity. Also, one psychiatrist stated that, categorically, all sociopaths want to be caught, stopped. Bill’s story, thus far, is a convoluted one of great sadness. I share your hope that the UK system, which is far more enlightened than ours, may offer him some ways forward—not simply “a cage.” L, e

  7. Avatar Michael House says:

    More enlightened than yours – but that’s not saying much. I would assume that, unless he has committed provable crimes in UK, he will be subjected to fast-track extradition procedures back to USA.

  8. Avatar william wickman says:

    He does not care for his children. I should know I am 1 of them. I was born william victor bernson the 4th and have had my name changed so that my son doesn’t live with his name. If you have any more information please email it to me I have been researching him for the past 12 years. To find out more about him/my past

  9. eboleman-herring eboleman-herring says:

    Dear William, Please email me at ebh@greecetraveler.com for further information. Yours, Elizabeth Boleman-Herring, Publishing Editor, Weekly Hubris

  10. […] (For Installment One of this saga, please return to the Weekly Hubris archives via this hot link: “Greg Lloyd Smith, William Victor Bernson III, AKA . . . Legion”) […]

  11. Avatar Damon Farley says:

    Having followed GLS these last years after his supposed class action lawsuit against Wikipedia, I have to say this does not strike me as surprising. Old Greg is crazy, and that is his downfall. The fact that he has a psychotic need to strike back against anyone he perceives as having wronged him meant that sooner or later he was going to take a fall. I hope the prisoners in Wales have the patience to deal with this prick, otherwise he is in for a seriously bad 16 months.

  12. eboleman-herring eboleman-herring says:

    Damon, I’m intrigued. How did YOU cross paths with our Greg-not-his-name?? Do let me know, as I imagined I was the only one to be following his story over this way. Best, EB-H

  13. Avatar one who knows says:

    Have received several obnoxious e-mails from someone purporting to be GLS in the last few weeks. But my sources inform me that he is still detained at Her Majesty’s pleasure in Swansea Prison. OfficialWire Ltd is now dissolved but he has recently transferred all of his companies to an unlisted company called CPM Partnership. Doesn’t he ever know when to stop?

  14. Avatar JT says:

    Very interesting story. I think I knew his first ex-wife back in 1985. She was the mother of William Bernson that responded above. They lived in Derry, NH back then. I Think he was 4 at the time.

  15. eboleman-herring eboleman-herring says:

    Indeed, JT, you knew Bill’s firstborn, William, and he did, indeed, live in Derry, New Hampshire. Federal Agents from New Hampshire came to visit me, along with FBI Agents, when they finally put their internet information together and realized that I had had the misfortune to work for Bill’s online -zine, then based in Greece. Willy-nilly, I became the only person they could find (initially) who had known Bill under his original name and his assumed name . . . but, until their arrival, I had no idea of the full range and scope of his deceptions and abandonments: William Wickman, born William Victor Bernson IV, is, alas, the person who best knows Bill’s deceit. You knew that little boy four years after his father left him.

  16. Avatar Harry Carr says:

    I had dealings with GLS about 8 or 9 years ago, I had put a Canadian company on to him who needed a payment processor, he was running an internet cafe and also a company called Frugal Escrow.
    He took the Canadians business and stole £4,000,000 that is when he beat it to Greece, leaving everybody out including myself.

    I then bought the name greglloydsmith.com and others and subjected him to exposure of all his dirty deeds for nearly a year, he was demented with me at the time, it cost him quite a bit of money to stop me, he hired a top London solicitors to track me down and get the names back.
    He then tried to sue me at the High Courts of Justice in London, but I was summoned to the judges chambers down there and he ordered Smith to appear, which I knew he wouldn’t as I knew too much about him. If the FBI came to me, I would be more than willing to help put the little scumbag away for years.
    At that time, I went into his Lawyer’s in London and they offered to settle out of court if I paid them 100,000, I laughed at them, and informed the lady lawyer that she would probably regret dealing with him, as he is poison. She did, she was struck off. (Full details on request).
    The only reason I stopped my campaign was I got fed up with it, if he sees this name “Harry Carr”, he will certainly remember it.
    When he went to Greece he set up the cafe and also a pleasure boat franchise company, which failed I believe.

    The details of all of this used to be on Archive.org, but he managed to get that taken off as well.

    I hope he goes away for a long time, I know a lot of people who will be pleased to hear of his downfall.

    Harry

  17. Avatar Harry Carr says:

    I still can’t believe that GLS is behind bars at last, I will be partying tonight…..

  18. eboleman-herring eboleman-herring says:

    Harry, alas, Bill conned his way out of jail in Wales (see my second column on this matter here on weeklyhubris.com, details just above). I would very much appreciate a phone call from you (e-mail me at ebh@greecetraveler.com), as the FBI have also dropped the ball here in the US, alas, and Bill is wagging his jaws in Wales about wreaking havoc in the lives of all who “betrayed” him. The irony is that I did NOT betray him: the FBI came to me after Bill tipped off the NJ IRS that I was doing business without having incorporated (he did not realize I’d long ago incorporated in South Carolina). The NJ IRS informed the FBI of “Greg Lloyd Smith’s” whereabouts, so the man, in his hatred, hoist himself on his own petard, and they and the State Department (and New Hampshire “FBI”) followed through, coming to me with questions I had to answer. I would not have chosen to make of William Victor Bernson III an enemy: he thinks nothing of coming after defenseless women. Still, he’s conned his way to freedom yet again, and his three current children will be further exposed to his machinations now. Not my responsibility in this incarnation, but I do wish, for the sake of his abandoned families and children (see above), those with the power to seek justice would do so. You seem to be in that position.

  19. Avatar Harry Carr says:

    Hi

    I have to go out now, but when I get back later, I will see if I can find some of the files I had on him.
    The legal company he used in London was Marriott Harrison, and the solicitor who he had working was Jane Jales, however, he tried to sue them.

    When I first came across him he was struggling financially, then he conned the money from the Canadians, then when anyone crossed him or had anything to say about him, he immediately threatened legal action.

    Over the last few years a few people asked me to start on him again, but it takes up a lot of time.
    Clydesdale bank in Scotland and to a lesser extent Lloyds bank (UK) should be chasing him, as they made a big loss from him.

  20. Avatar One who knows says:

    I was led to believe that he was to be deported from the UK once he had served his sentence. Which is normal in a case such as his. After all he has no right to reside in the UK being an USA citizen. If he is indeed out now, it will be because of good behavior whilst serving his 17 months. Have tried calling his home several times but Katerina answers and he’s never there!

  21. Avatar Handdc says:

    Message From Mary Anderson, Headmaster

    Pinkerton Academy has been contacted by a former student who attended Pinkerton in the late 1970s. This student has alleged that he engaged in an inappropriate relationship with a teacher at that time.
    The Academy takes any accusation of this type very seriously. We have an established, strict protocol for investigating these types of claims. We have found no evidence to support this claim at this time. The teacher resigned from Pinkerton in 1979.
    The former student, Greg Smith, has reported his story to the New Hampshire Department of Education which is following its own rigorous protocol in this matter. We are assisting the DOE in any way we can.
    Please note that the former student, who resides in the United Kingdom, is now known as Greg Smith. At the time of Mr. Smith’s attendance at Pinkerton, he was known as William Victor Bernson, Jr. At the same general time of Mr. Bernson (now Smith)’s attendance at Pinkerton, a student named Greg Smith was also enrolled at the Academy. That Greg Smith was killed in a car accident the year after Mr. Bernson left Pinkerton. We are unaware of any connection between the two students.
    If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Chip Underhill, Executive Director of Public Relations and External Affairs, (603) 437-5200 x1102 or cunderhill@pinkertonacademy.org.

  22. eboleman-herring eboleman-herring says:

    Att: Mary Anderson, Headmaster.
    Re: Wm. Victor Bernson III: I’ve been advised to route all enquiries re Bernson to Agent Sharon L. Orr, at PortsmouthDSOffice@yahoo.com

  23. Avatar Jai says:

    Does anyone know this persons current location? I hope he is finally paying for the pain and disruption he has caused for many decades.

  24. Avatar TB says:

    Did Bill ever reside in Washington state, USA?

  25. Elizabeth Boleman-Herring Elizabeth Boleman-Herring says:

    TB, I have no idea.

  26. Avatar TB says:

    I only ask because I worked for a time for a WVB III back in the 80’s in Vancouver WA. Got stiffed.

  27. Elizabeth Boleman-Herring Elizabeth Boleman-Herring says:

    TB, all I know is in the two columns here on Weekly Hubris . . . and what I’ve learned from the people who’ve written in since. I’m pretty certain there was, is, only one William Victor Bernson III, though there were two Greg Lloyd Smiths. If I know Bill, he’s made his way–somehow–out of the UK now, to somewhere like Israel. Last I caught sight of him via the internet, he was pretending to be a British Jew.

Leave a Reply

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

*
*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>