Couple sentenced for far-fetched fraud

The couple that preyed together won’t stay together. They are going to separate federal prisons.

Brent Eric Finley — who along with his wife scammed family, friends and neighbors out of hundreds of thousands of dollars with a far-fetched scheme of using the CIA and some of its technology to head off serious medical problems — has been sentenced in federal court to four years and three months in prison. Finley, 38, of Rayville must report to prison by Feb. 4.

His wife, Stacey, who prosecutors believe was the dominant personality in the massive fraud, was sentenced earlier this year to five years and three months in prison.

Over a period of six years, the Finleys persuaded 22 people to pay them a total of $989,898. Many of the victims, who ranged in age from young adults to the elderly, depleted savings, insurance policies, and pension funds, prosecutors said.

Stacey Finley, 34, persuaded 22 people — described by federal prosecutors as “solid, middle-class, educated citizens” — that she was a CIA agent and could use her agency contacts to have medical scans conducted by satellite. Finley told the victims the scans would reveal hidden medical problems, prosecutors said, and that CIA agents would then enter their homes and administer secret medications while they slept. Those treatments would supposedly prevent serious health problems and hereditary diseases.

The FBI began investigating after one of the victims became suspicious and told a local law enforcement officer.

Stacey Finley is not associated with the spy agency, prosecutors said

The Finleys were ordered to make restitution in the amount of $873,786.94. Prosecutors said that money won’t come from what was stolen because the victims’ money was “frittered away”. They said the Finleys owned a home and five vehicles, but their house was mortgaged and the vehicles financed and there were few other assets.

Asked how so many people could be conned by such far-fetched claims, U.S. Attorney Donald Washington described Finley as “a cult-like, charismatic personality.”

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Religion News Blog posted this on Wednesday December 5, 2007.
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