TACOMA — Bobbi Ann Finley, known as the “Military Mistress” for a number of cons she reportedly ran on soldiers, is back in town — facing charges of second-degree theft.
Finley, who recently finished a three-year sentence in an Alabama prison for felony theft is being held in Tacoma. She has been accused of scamming at least 30 soldiers out of money, including one soldier from Joint Base Lewis-McChord and another based in Bremerton.
Finley had been accused of marrying military men — as many as 14 — and stealing their money. She said she knows she is accused of conning dozens of soldiers across the country and admits she has nine children, all of whom she put up for adoption with family members except for her second child who she said she gave to a family friend. She also said she has been legally married four times and that three of those unions were with soldiers.
Jeff White, who hired Finley to work at a Tacoma bar, said that Finley “seemed to be a bit promiscuous, to say the least. I don’t think I ever saw her with the same guy. She had a bubbly personality and that’s what military guys go for.”
She also told White that “she was in the Marine Corps and got shot in Iraq and her dad was really wealthy and she was going to inherit a lot of money.”
He then said that she ran up a $600 tab at the bar, wrote White a bad check, and wasn’t seen from again.
When Finley was asked about her role in scamming soldiers, and others, she said she was aware the Army was interested in speaking with her and that she had tried to get in touch an Army investigator but that “nobody is at their desk, so you can’t really talk to anybody then if they don’t answer, can you?”
She also tried to blame her actions on her childhood.
“I grew up very poor and sheltered so if someone offers me something, I’m not going to turn it down,” she said at the time.
Finley also she grew up in an abusive home and ran away when she was 13. She said her mother jumped from boyfriend to boyfriend and she thinks that’s why she adopted the same pattern with men. When asked what attracted her to military men, she said it is because they are heroes and she wanted to be loved.
“To this day I still don’t know how to love or deal with relationships. I have screwed people over and their lives, but I have realized I’m never going to get by in life like that,” she said. “I know I’m not the greatest person on earth.”
Finley admitted to doing time for taking advantage of some of the men she met, in particular Army reservist Rodney Wegg.
In 2004, Finley and Wegg lived in Texas and Finley said they were engaged and that she had access to his bank account.
“He gave me the checkbook and I wrote checks knowing he didn’t have the money in there to cover them. I got pregnant and he told me it wasn’t his and I left. Two years later I was driving through Texas and got pulled over and went to jail for eight months,” Finley said.
In 2010, Finley also admitted she spent time in the Buckley and Bremerton jails but insisted she would turn herself in to Army authorities.
“I want people to know I’m not a monster. I never sought these guys out because they were military. It happened and I can’t take that back. If I could change that, I would,” she said.
After Finley’s soldier scam was uncovered, a number of states issued warrants for her arrest. The extent of financial ruses Finley has been accused of go beyond her attraction to scamming soldiers — she’s also been accused of ditching on a $240 bar tab in New Orleans and writing bad checks to a plumber and cabbie in Alabama.
And Finley didn’t limit herself to approaching only soldiers — she also befriended a number of women who she later took advantage of.
The charges she now faces stem from an incident in May 2009 in which a female victim said she became acquainted with Finley at a bar and that Finley had told her she was in the Marines and had recently returned from Iraq. Finley then reportedly told the woman that she only had out-of-state checks, which the bank would not cash for her and she asked the victim if she would help her. The victim then gave Finley money for checks that Finley wrote. The victim told authorities Finley wrote her four checks that totaled $2,455 — all of the checks Finley wrote were drawn on closed accounts.
Finley attempted to write the victim two more checks, but the woman did not deposit them.
Diane Boheler has a similar story about Finley.
“She told me she was in the Marine Corps and said she was in the military for 15 years,” Boheler said. “She said she got shot in Iraq.”
The two met in a Spanaway bar and Boheler said that Finley told the “same story to everybody and she’s told it for years so she’s got it down pat. I trusted her. Everybody trusted her. She said she didn’t spend a lot of money in Iraq so she had all this money in the bank.”
The two became friends and Boheler let Finley stay at her home and loaned her money. Within a couple of weeks, Boheler found herself out of $3,000 and Finley had disappeared.
Finley appeared in court July 10 to be arraigned on the second-degree theft charges. It is unknown if she will face more charges.