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Former Tower Hill treasurer pleads guilty to federal wire fraud charges
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Former Tower Hill treasurer pleads guilty to federal wire fraud charges

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TOWER HILL — Nancy Finley, the former Tower Hill treasurer accused of siphoning off and stealing more than $150,000 from village water and sewer bills, is now pleading guilty to three federal charges of wire fraud.

But the federal case isn’t the end of her legal problems: She still faces a pending Shelby County Circuit Court theft charge alleging she stole more than $100,000 from the village. But one of her attorneys said Wednesday that he hoped the county charges might be dropped once the federal case is concluded.

Finley, 54, appeared in the United States District Court in Springfield on Friday with her attorney, Daniel Fultz, and entered the guilty pleas. Magistrate Judge Tom Schanzle-Haskins accepted the pleas and ordered a pre-investigation report before scheduling a sentencing hearing for June 8. Finley, who lives near Pana, remains free on a $10,000 recognizance bond in the federal case and $50,000 cash bail in the county case.

Court records show that she has yet to enter a plea in that case and a preliminary hearing, which has been rescheduled 12 times since her arrest on Nov. 8, 2017, is now set for May 20.

The federal charges were detailed in a grand jury indictment which said she raided the village’s water and sewer accounts by draining off the payments families and businesses made on their bills between 2009 and 2017. Finley, who was hired as treasurer in 1998, is accused of covering up what she was doing by subverting a computerized billing system to hide her thievery.

Finley is further accused of helping herself to cash from other village accounts and using wire transfers to funnel the stolen monies into her personal bank account.

The indictment says her technique for covering up what she was doing also included altering copies of checks to hide where the money was going and falsifying computerized accounting files. At one point, the indictment said, she even “falsely represented that the village computer on which she worked had crashed, resulting in a loss of water and sewer billing data.”

Finley’s attorney in the federal case, Daniel Fultz, said Wednesday that a sentencing deal has been negotiated with prosecutors but it has yet to be approved by the judge and he couldn’t comment on the details. Asked if he was pushing for Finley not to get prison time, Fultz said he could not speak to that.

“I don’t think it’s in anyone’s interests at this point to discuss what the terms are,” he added.

The attorney did say, while stressing he is not the attorney representing Finley in the county theft case, that a satisfactory conclusion of the federal charges would smooth the way for the county charges getting dropped. “We do anticipate this will dispose of the state case as well, which is based on the same issue,” added Fultz, who works for the law firm Brown, Hay & Stephens.

Attorney Dustin Probst, who is defending Finley in the county case, declined comment when reached at his office Wednesday.


Contact Tony Reid at (217) 421-7977. Follow him on Twitter: @TonyJReid

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