Bobbi Ann Finley: From Military Mistress to Convicted Felon

Married 14 times, Finley allegedly targeted military servicemen.

July 7, 2011, 12:12 PM

July 8, 2011 — -- In the Alabama state penitentiary system, she's known as inmate 277206. But thanks to nearly two decades of alleged deception, Bobbi Ann Finley has become infamous for another set of numbers: being married at least 14 times, having nine children by as many men and allegedly draining thousands from bank accounts across nine different states.

Dubbed the "Military Mistress," Finley, 35, allegedly targeted military servicemen before taking their cash and leaving them in financial ruin. In February, an Alabama court sentenced Finley to three years in prison after she pleaded guilty to a felony charge of theft by deception. Finley is wanted on charges in other states, but authorities have not announced any extradition plans.

CLICK HERE to see a map of Finley's alleged victims across the country.

In an exclusive prison interview with ABC News' "20/20" co-anchor Chris Cuomo last year, Finley admitted that she may have destroyed some lives but claimed she was also a victim, blaming a hardluck upbringing for her string of doomed relationships.

"I wasn't running a con," Finley said. "I wanted protection, the protection that I should have had growing up. ... I married these guys I couldn't love."

For almost two decades, Finley crisscrossed the country, allegedly preying on military bases where servicemen said she lied to them from the start, claiming to be everything from a wounded veteran of the Iraq War to the wealthy daughter of a decorated general.

All the men said Finley knew how to put on the charm and reel them in, describing their initial attraction to her. "She was smart, funny, witty, beautiful," Jacob Anderson, one of Finley's ex-husbands, told Cuomo. "I mean, you'd come home ... you didn't need to ask one ... it was clean. Our food was cooked, and the food was excellent. Dishes were done, house was immaculate. You were going like, 'Wow, I couldn't ask for anybody better.'"

Along the way, Finley not only collected husbands but also confirmed giving birth to nine children by as many men, some of whom claimed they were never told they were fathers before their children were adopted or given to other guardians, a claim Finley denied.

"The devil himself is a pot of gold compared to her," said Shane Cheesman, one of Finley's ex-husbands whose marriage was annulled after a week. Cheesman believes he is the father of one of her children. "She has no heart. She has no feelings, no remorse."

Click here to see pictures throughout Finley's life

Finley's alleged scams began to unravel in 2004 when she crossed paths with Rodney Wegg, a young reservist stationed in Texas who immediately fell for the woman he said was "fun loving and everything a man wants." His impression of her changed when he said he came home from a weekend away and found that Finley had wreaked havoc on his checking account.

Finley would soon learn that she had met her match in Rodney Wegg's mother, Katie Wegg, who began a six-year-crusade to bring Finley to justice. Determined to piece together Finley's past, Wegg contacted dozens of alleged victims across the country. She told Cuomo that her investigation revealed an extensive history of fraud and even a case of serial bigamy. Court documents revealed Finley had served multiple sentences, but Wegg said she hadn't served enough time. But the worst offense of all, Wegg said, was the discovery that Finley had given birth to a child that Wegg was convinced was her grandson. And, she claimed, her son wasn't the only one.

"[Rodney] had a child out there and he wanted to know where this child was. And he wanted his child," Katie Wegg told 20/20. "These guys didn't know they had children."

In 2007, Finley served an eight-month sentence for forging checks to Rodney Wegg's account.

Finley was arrested again in June 2010 in New Orleans for allegedly skipping out on a pricey dinner tab. She was extradited to Alabama, where she pleaded guilty to a felony theft charge related to a furniture purchase, was sentenced to jail time and was ordered to pay nearly $5,300 in restitution.

Many of her alleged victims said she deserved to stay in prison for the rest of her life. Chris Cuomo brought together nine former husbands and fiances for an exclusive group interview in which they shared their stories of emptied bank accounts and broken hearts.

"I mean, I'm angry. I'm sad. I'm lonely ... because of what Bobbi did," Jeffrey Dietiker, one of Finley's ex-husbands, told Cuomo. "And now I'm paying for it, with every relationship I get in. ... Trust was everything I had, and now I don't."

Finley told Cuomo that while she may be "the most hated woman in America," she believes the title is undeserved. While she admitted that she had a history of writing bad checks, she insisted she is not a con woman, bigamist or bad person.

"I was looking for love. I was looking for understanding, I was looking for someone to say, You know, it is going to be OK," Finley explained. "In many of the cases, you look and you started out and you get married and you're thinking, 'Oh, I'm going to live happily ever after.' And then you realize as soon it's done ... it was a mistake," she said.

But the men say her explanation is just another con.

"She's a domestic terrorist," said ex-husband Ben Giles. "As a military member, we were sworn to protect this country against all enemies, foreign and domestic. She is targeting military members. She's destroying their lives."

Watch the full story on "20/20" tonight at 10 p.m. ET.