the city chicken

I just got a check from Bill Gates!!
05 8 2007, 10:32 am
Filed under: rants, scams

Do you have any clue how many of us out there have searched for “Pearlas Sanborn” or “Pepsi Co. GE lawsuit”??

So you are probably here to find out (1) if this e-mail is for real and/or (2) what is the history of this spam message that just WILL NOT go away.

After beginning law school, I became interested in the history of this e-mail hoax. (Yes, it is a hoax!) The legal references in the e-mail began to seem really fishy as I learned more about the technical aspects of law suits. The reference to Pepsi bringing a class actionlaw suit against GE was a tell-tale sign.  Pepsi? Suing GE? What for?? And in a class action law suit none the less??? Along with who else, Coke and Faygo!?!?

Apparently I wasn’t the only one interested. I found the following excerpt at GalvestonLawyerBlog.blogspot[dot]com, the blog of an attorney who had apparently had enough of this forward. He did some real background work and now this is the e-mail he sends in response each time he gets this thing in his inbox:


I’m an attorney, too. Apparently a little better at it than “Pearlas Sandborn”, the so-called attorney who allegedly advised her friend “Kathy South Alcoa” that this was legitimate. For an article debunking this scam see the article at the bottom of this email.I went a little further than Snopes in investigating this bogus claim that I get in my email at least once every other week. I will save this response and now routinely attach it to responses to them. I’m going to post it on my blog, too:


First, I did what no one else that gets this crap and then passes it on as fact ever does–I called the numbers given for the people in the email. The phone numbers for Ms. Alcoa at “EHS” are not working numbers. The area code given is for Lafayette, Indiana. Thus, I brilliantly deduced that “EHS” is some type of corporate entity in Indiana. Next I traveled over to the Indiana Secretary of State’s website. There are only 2 entities in Indiana’s history of registering business entities that have used the letters “EHS” anywhere in their corporate name or even d/b/a name. One was an entity named “EHS, Inc.” which has been dissolved since 1978. The other is an assumed name of a cell phone company called Eric Hugh Smith Communications, LLC, which is located in Indianapolis (in the 317 area code, by the way) and not in comparative backwater Lafayette. I doubt they even have a “Maintenance Coordinator” unless that’s what the janitor has renamed his job title.I next attempted to locate “Charles S. Bailey”, the ostensible “General Manager Field Operations” for CSX Corporation (a big-line railroad based out of Jacksonville, Fla.). The extension number given in the email (1085) belonged to a nice gentleman named Rich Dunham, who was not “General Manager Field Operations”. My firm represents two of the other big-carrier railroads. Railroad guys, particularly highly placed ones who receive stock option bonuses, wouldn’t bother with such a nonsensical claim. They’re real meat and potato types who are skeptical by nature.


Not forgetting my alleged colleague in the legal profession, “Pearlas Sandborn” who, if she were real would probably be someone who commits a lot of malpractice, I made an inquiry with the Indiana State Bar Association as to licensure for anyone with that name or combination thereof. I should hear from them tomorrow. But I’m going to go out on a limb and make the broad claim that there exists no such attorney in Indiana. Consistent with all the other “facts” in the offending email.


As to the claimed motive of Bill Gates/AOL/Intel based on “fear of facing a multimillion-dollar class action suit similar to the one filed by PepsiCo against General Electric not too long ago” — this doesn’t hold water on even a cursory examination. I am a lawyer with access to Lexis and Westlaw. I can find no proof of any litigation between these two corporate giants (something somebody sure would have heard about). And I can assure you Pepsi Cola would not be bringing a class-action suit for anyone against General Electric. Unless maybe GE was gouging them on their electric bill. Class actions are used by a lot of plaintiffs who have damages which, if sued on individually, might be rather small. A class action bundles a lot of these “small” cases that are similar and involve the same parties and makes a big case out of it. If Pepsi needs to sue someone, they’ll just pick up the phone at their world corporate headquarters in New York (actually, Purchase, NY–”45 minutes from New York” as Pepsi states on their website) and call their big-shot, bad-ass attorneys’ over at white shoe firm Jones Day at their offices on East 41st Street in New York (or if need be, at one of Jones Day’s 28 other branches around the U.S. and the globe, including Beijing and Munich) and sue the bastards. Maybe the idiot author of this email thought that GE promised Pepsi free electricity and then reneged forcing Pepsi to sue GE for specific performance (which is a fancy way of saying “do what the hell you contracted to do”). But I’m thinking not. Coincidentally, Jones Day’s other mega-client is none other than General Electric. Aside from a disqualifying conflict in such a situation, I don’t think Jones Day is in the business of allowing its two meal-ticket clients get into nasty litigation with one another. Nevah happen. In fact, there is no mention of such a case on behalf of either company against each other or any subsidiary. But then I guess they wouldn’t want to mention a case they not only were disqualified from, but also are the law-firm losers of the century by allowing one corporate client to do, say or act in such a way that another, similar client would now have grounds to sue client # 1. Anyone want to wager real money on the likelihood of that scenario happening? Jones Day got to the top of the heap not by having a transactional section that committed malpractice so the litigation section could sue that client. The whole premise is absurd. That’s my analysis. Enjoy and remember, just because you saw it on the internet doesn’t make it true (I hope everyone catches the irony in the last statement).




I love it!


14 Comments so far
Leave a comment


Comment by lizz

Even the smarter can be caught by this kind of fishing offering money using this kind of statement. This ad has been translated into other languages (as far as I know, it’s been translated into Spanish) making possible a path to grove thousands and thousands of smart Internet users.
Long ago, I quit forwarding this type of disinformation to be disseminated along the web via our personal contacts.
Users should publicly be warned and aware on this kind of traps made to spread dirty political practices, and also to reach and collect as much e-mail addresses as possible used for commercial purposes and spam.

Comment by Ron Saunders

I got this forward from a friend, googled the lawsuit and found this article. It’s fabulous. Way to go GalvestonLawyer!

Comment by Em

I’m glad someone sent me an email like this concerning these Nationally known rivals (ha-ha). I found some time to do a little research of my own, and found this site. Now I use this site to reply to all those who think they are going to gain profit from some genius spam generator.
Nice work GalvestonLawyer.

Comment by Ron

I got a french version of this email, and googled it to find this web. This is so obviously fake, about getting money just by sending an email, microsoft being able to track personnal emails we send, the mention of Pepsi lawsuit that happened recently without any references as if everybody heard about it. Money doesn’t come that easy, we got to work for it, not just click it in! I can’t believe that after all these years of scams like this some people still believe in them. I used to receive a lot regarding witches that bring good or bad luck if you send the damn email. This scam is just as ridiculous!

Comment by PJ

Thanks you! When it come to FREE money,we humans
seam to lose our minds. There is NO FREE MONEY! Stop the pipe dream and wake up!

Don’t be sucker. Next time you could lose a lot
more than just your time. Maybe you home.

Comment by jsb

Well Done!… and thank you for all the research you did.

Yea this “email junk” has been translated into Spanish. I received it in Spanish from my good friend, who apparently lost his common sense once he read “You will receive a check for $241 right at your door”!

Comment by Gustavo

Have you ever heard of ONE show titled “Good Morning America Today Show”? I knew I didn’t need to read much more to know that it was a hoax!

Comment by Julie

That was on the same level as the letter Beaver Dam response. I’m going to borrow it for the two emails I’ve received in the last two days.

Comment by Capitan Claymore

I receive this kind of junk mail from my congregation and family all the time. I am glad i am not the only one who checks them out. I thank God there are web sites like yours to go to when we get such things. (I found 151,000 web sights that debunked this E-Mail) can you believe it

Comment by Ken Rodenberger

I am going to send this website back to
the person who sent me the spam chain email.
Thank you for the input!

Comment by MI Worker

I too started with the phone calling of the numbers listed in the email and got nothing which led me to the web search for the infamous “lawyer” and thus the notification of the hoax. I informed the person who originally sent the email of the hoax and this general wise rule – “if it is too good to be true – it is not real!”

Comment by Teresa Laggis

I am a law student, and, sadly, this was sent to me by…ANOTHER LAW STUDENT. I already KNEW it was BS (because I possess a little thing called “common sense”) but found this as I searched for a link to send to this clown so he’d know to stop wasting my time with useless forwards. Might as well claim that Bill Gates himself will deliver you the check on his unicorn.

Comment by LegalRugger7

I only got as far as marvelling at the gullibility of people who forward this sort of thing to their entire mailing list, though I did wonder how big corporates could possibly get into class action suits against another, hence finding this. That M$ could track emails sent from a Windows system is vaguely plausible. Thinking that they could translate that information to your bank account details and deposit big $$ (as the latest version of the thing goes, sending checks in the mail is so 1970s) is just plain idiocy. I got it from someone I don’t even know with some South African details (allegedly reported on a local exposé TV show) added to “validate”the prank.

The only chance of real litigation: if any of this wasted real time at a big corporation and they tracked down who set off the prank (unlikely for the original, it started around 1997, but someone who adds embellishments could potentially be identified), the big corporate could sue the prankster for losses.

Comment by Philip Machanick

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