Alabama officials: 'Military mistress' released by mistake

AP News
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Posted: Apr 17, 2015 7:02 PM

MOBILE, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama sheriff's deputy released a woman dubbed the "Military Mistress," who is wanted in three states, because a radio dispatcher failed to pass along that there were warrants out for her arrest, the agency said Friday.

Bobbi Ann Finley, who got her nickname because of allegations that she moved from military base to military base marrying more than a dozen U.S. service members to gain access to their bank accounts, is wanted on check fraud charges in Colorado, Oklahoma and Oregon.

But a Mobile County deputy who stopped the woman and her husband wasn't informed that she was wanted, said Lori Myles, a spokeswoman for the Mobile County Sheriff's Office.

"The bottom line on all of it was a failure to communicate on our part," said Lori Myles.

The mix-up was revealed publicly by the Marion County Sheriff's Department in Oregon, which issued a news release this week saying Finley had married 14 military men and was wanted on bad-check charges along with her current husband, Zackerie House.

Finley was previously called the "Military Mistress" in news reports about the string of marriages.

A deputy stopped Finley, 39, and House in a vehicle near Interstate 10 on Tuesday morning, Myles said. A records check showed the vehicle was stolen and that Finley was wanted for check fraud charges, but the dispatcher only told the officer about the vehicle and failed to mention the warrant, she said.

"We don't know if it was just an oversight or what," Myles said.

The officer consulted with prosecutors by phone and seized the vehicle since it was listed as stolen, Myles said, but no charges were filed since the woman had paperwork indicating she had purchased the car.

The deputy later found out through Oregon investigators who Finley was and went back to the service station where he had encountered the couple, but surveillance video showed the pair had already left with someone else in a pickup truck, said Myles.

Officials haven't had any contact with the woman since then.

"I don't know where she is now," said Sgt. Chris Baldridge of the Marion County Sheriff's Department in Oregon, which first revealed that Alabama authorities had let the woman go.

Finley and her husband are both wanted on check-fraud charges.

Marion County officials said the couple wrote bad checks totaling almost $13,500 in March and appeared to be purchasing items that could be used for camping or living in rural or remote areas. They were at one point driving a 2005 Cadillac Escalade with an Oregon license plate.

It wasn't clear why Finley might have been in Alabama, but court records show she pleaded guilty to theft of services in the state in 2011. She was credited with serving 252 days in jail and received three years on probation.

Authorities asked an Alabama judge to revoke Finley's probation in January, alleging she owed the state $7,412 in court-ordered payments and hadn't made a payment since May 2014.