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Press Release

Spokane Man Sentenced to 135 Months in Federal Prison for Defrauding Individuals in Connection With Advance Fee Scheme

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Washington

Spokane – Joseph H. Harrington, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced that Derrick John Fincher, age 48, of Spokane, Washington, was sentenced today after being found guilty by a jury of Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud. Chief United States District Judge Thomas O. Rice sentenced Fincher to a 135-month term of imprisonment, to be followed by a 3-year term of court supervision after he is released from federal prison. Fincher was also ordered to pay $2,015,000 in restitution to his victims.

According to information disclosed during court proceedings, Fincher and his conspirators, Vassily Anthony “Tony” Thompson and John Patrick Nixon, orchestrated an advance fee fraud scheme that duped their victims into paying $160,000 to $1 million as “show money” or “insurance fees” to purportedly obtain loans of millions of dollars from the Export-Import Bank and other lending institutions. The victims sought these loans for legitimate business ventures the victims were pursing including: a celebrity golf tournament in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, a movie studio in Montana, and a housing development near Charlotte, North Carolina. In reality, Fincher and his co-conspirators used the victim’s money to pay their own personal living expenses. The victims were defrauded out of $2,015,000.

Joseph H. Harrington said, “Posing as legitimate businessmen, the defendant and his conspirators used false promises to extract significant fees from their victims, but they provided nothing in return. Their promises of loans were empty as they were nothing more than a fraudulent scheme designed to line their pockets. The sentence imposed sends a strong message to others who may engage in similar conduct. I commend the FBI and the Special Agents for their tenacity and dedication in uncovering and investigating this advance fee scheme. The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Washington will continue to prosecute aggressively white collar crime occurring in this District.”

The Court previously sentenced Fincher’s conspirators, Thompson and Nixon, to 9-year and 2-year terms of imprisonment, respectively, followed by a 3-year term of court supervision, and ordered them to pay $2,015,000 in restitution.

This case was investigated by the Spokane Resident Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. This case was prosecuted by Scott Jones and Joseph Derrig, Assistant United States Attorneys for the Eastern District of Washington.

Updated September 14, 2018

Press Release Number: 16-CR-145-TOR