updated 1/22/2007 10:59:23 AM ET 2007-01-22T15:59:23

She claimed to be a CIA agent who could have satellites scan people’s bodies for disease, then have CIA agents administer secret medicines to them while they slept.

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As far-fetched as her story was, Stacey Finley convinced 22 neighbors, in-laws and friends in Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi to pay her nearly $1 million over the past six years.

The 34-year-old Farmerville resident will be sentenced May 7 on one charge of wire fraud. Until then, she is under house arrest, U.S. Attorney Donald Washington said.

She pleaded guilty Tuesday and could get up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000. As part of her guilty plea, she acknowledged that the judge must order her to repay the money, and that she defrauded her victims of $989,898.

She is “a predator who preyed on basic human fears,” and deserves the maximum, Washington said. However, the guilty plea calls for some consideration that her guilty plea allowed the government to avoid the cost of preparing for trial.

Prosecutors described the victims as “solid, middle-class, educated citizens” who ranged from young adults to elderly. Most were friends and relatives of Finley’s husband, authorities said.

“She can be best be thought of as a cult-like, charismatic personality who could convince the victims this scam was real,” Washington said.

Husband not charged
According to investigators, Finley claimed she could arrange a satellite scan of her victims’ bodies, detecting hidden medical problems, and that CIA agents would then enter their homes while they slept and administer secret medicines that would prevent serious health problems and hereditary diseases

Some of the victims depleted their savings, pensions and life insurance to pay her, authorities said.

Authorities said Finley used the money for living expenses, mortgage payments and clothes — although she and her husband had five vehicles. Most things were paid for with cash.

The husband has not been charged. Washington would not say if he is being investigated.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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