SPRINGFIELD (Heartland Newsfeed) — A former Central Illinois village trustee and treasurer will soon appear in a Federal court jury trial following a Federal indictment for fraud.
Nancy Finley, 52, of Pana, was indicted in Federal court last month on three charges of wire fraud. She is expected to appear in Springfield for an August jury trial.
Finley is accused of stealing more than $150,000 in cash payments from the village on several instances.
She was arrested by officers from the Illinois State Police on Nov. 8, 2017 following an investigation showing probable cause that Finley had stolen from village funds. Finley posted 10 percent of a $50,000 bond two days later.
Charge One: Wire Fraud
The first charge for wire fraud involves any instance between 2010 and 2017, in and around Christian and Shelby counties, where Finley devised wire fraud by scheming to defraud and obtain funds via means of false and fraudulent pretenses, representations and promises.
The background surrounding the first charge states that Finley has served as the village treasurer since 1998, in which the village has held three bank accounts with Peoples Bank and Trust of Pana for their general, water/sewer and motor fuel tax funds.
The village financials were tracked via QuickBooks, which Finley had access to and maintained.
In 2009, the village began to utilize QuikWater Rural (a product released by TAK Technology) as a utility billing software system, with meter readings entered into the system to better generate water bills.
Finley held primary responsibilities related to the software, involving tracking payments as well as ensure that the automatic backups were successful. However, there was an option to manually backup data to a FTP server maintained by TAK Technology.
The first complaint states that over $150,000 in cash payments submitted (with intent to pay for water and sewer bills) was stolen and made fraudulent adjustments to the billing system to conceal her theft.
She is also accused of creating backups of altered files, deleted QuikWater files, maliciously altered QuickBooks files and lied about the computer she worked on crashed, claiming that it resulted in the loss of water and sewer data.
Additionally, Finley wrote nine checks to herself in the amount of $19,315 from the general and water/sewer funds and cashed and/or deposited them in her personal account at First National Bank of Taylorville.
She altered copies of the checks following deposit or cash out, replacing her name as payee to those of several business entities and presented them before the board as legitimate bill payments.
A further scheme was executed on July 18, 2016 by transmitting via wire communication through interstate commerce a deposit of $2,077.12 from the village’s account to her personal account.
Counts Two and Three: Wire Fraud
The second count of wire fraud involves Finley wiring a $2,309.32 check from the village’s account to her personal account.
The third count of wire fraud involved Finley’s manual backup of QuikWater files to execute the scheme mentioned in Count Two.
Both counts re-allege the background cited in Count One.
Finley entered a not guilty plea June 11 to all three counts and was released on her own recognizance through a $10,000 bond.
United States v. Nancy Finley will be heard August 7, with final pretrial proceedings taking place July 30 before U.S. District Judge Sue Myerscough.
Finley’s defense is represented by Daniel L. Fultz from Springfield-based Brown, Hay & Stephens LLP.
The prosecution for the United States is represented by U.S. Attorney Katherine Virginia Boyle of Urbana.
The ongoing Shelby County case with charges including theft of government property, a Class X felony, is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Aug. 1, the seventh time a hearing has been scheduled since the beginning of the year.
Jake Leonard, a broadcast media and journalism veteran, is the editor-in-chief of Heartland Newsfeed. Leonard is also GM and program director of Heartland Newsfeed Radio Network, wrestling editor and contributing writer for Ambush Sports, a contributing writer for My Sports Vote and Midwest Sports Network, and a former contributor to Bleacher Report and Overtime Heroics. He resides at home in Nokomis, Ill. with his dog Buster.