by: Frank Field Updated:
TACOMA, Wash. - A woman known nationally as The Military Mistress has been arraigned in Superior Court in Tacoma for felony theft charges stemming from a long-running series of scams prosecutors in at least seven states have been after her for.
Bobbi Ann Finley, 37, appeared in Superior Court in Tacoma Wednesday afternoon. Prosecutors say her scam was typically to seduce and marry a serviceman, and then get access to his bank account.
She's been wanted in connection with a series of allegations going back almost two decades.
Police in several states say she seduced and married at least 14 men then spent their savings -- leaving them in financial ruin.
Finley's been charged with various types of fraud in North Carolina, Alabama, Texas, Arizona, California, Oregon, Washington.
Pierce County prosecutor Mark Lindquist extradited her from Alabama where she was on parole after serving time for felony theft. She made her first court appearance in Pierce County today. Only KIRO 7 was there as she pleaded not guilty.
"We want the jig to be up and for these cons to stop," said Lindquist.
Finley told a Montgomery TV station last month that she is remorseful.
"All I can do is take responsibility for the things I have done and do the time that I have to do for it," Finley said.
In court Wednesday, she said only that she couldn't remember her Tacoma address because it had been three years since she'd been at it. That followed a request by her attorney for a low bail – a request denied by the judge.
Lindquist alleges that in 2009 Finley flipped her usual ruse and claimed to be a veteran and convinced a Tacoma woman she befriended to cash bad checks.
"The defendant met the victim at a bar and claimed to be an Iraq war veteran who couldn't get her checks cashed anywhere and needed help," Lindquist said.
Felony theft could mean up to five years in a Washington prison if she's convicted. And there may be charges in other states where she's been investigated for child neglect. She may have had nine children with her various husbands. Right now Finley's in jail in lieu of $200,000 bail.