Louisiana Fraud Nets Fake CIA Agent Nearly $1 Million
Fraud comes in all shapes and sizes, and seasoned investigators find few surprises in the scams reported by crime victims, but a North Louisiana woman has managed to stun law enforcement and victims alike with a successful scam that netted her nearly $1 million.
Stacey Finley persuaded 22 victims-victims the prosecutors on the case have described as “solid, middle-class, educated citizens”-that she was a CIA agent and could use her contacts within the agency to have medical scans conducted by satellite. Finley reportedly told victims that these scans would reveal hidden medical problems. Then, she apparently claimed, CIA agents would enter their homes and administer secret medications while they slept. These treatments would prevent serious health problems and hereditary diseases.
Over a period of six years, Finley persuaded 22 people to pay her 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 to pay Finley. Although Finley and her husband own a home and five vehicles, prosecutors say that the house is mortgaged and the vehicles financed, leaving few assets to repay the victims.
Finley’s fraudulent enterprise was uncovered only because one of the victims became suspicious and talked with a local law enforcement officer, who contacted the FBI. Finley’s husband has not been charged, but it remains unclear whether he is being investigated and may eventually face fraud or other charges himself.
Finley pled guilty to one count of wire fraud and is on house arrest pending sentencing on May 7. At that hearing, she could be sentenced to up to twenty years in prison and fined up to $250,000. In addition, Finley will be required to make restitution in the amount of the $989,898 she received from the scheme. However, it is unclear how she will make such payment; the prosecuting attorney has indicated that the victims’ money was “frittered away”.
While it may seem unbelievable that so many ordinary citizens were taken in by Finley’s scheme, U.S. Attorney Donald Washington has described her as “a cult-like, charismatic personality who could convince the victims this scam was real.” Perhaps Finley’s criminal defense attorney will exercise the same persuasive powers at her sentencing hearing in May.