Magness Lake, in Heber Springs, is a magnet for swans
Shea Saenger, a woman convicted of second-degree murder in Arkansas before later stealing millions from a man suffering from dementia, has been sentenced by a Washington State federal court to 46 months in prison and three years supervised release and ordered to pay $2,161,000 in restitution for mail fraud.
The Times reported on the scam last August and efforts by Norman Butler's son, Doug, to recover money Saenger sent to her brother, Mark Lumpkin, and his wife, Rosemary, who live in Phillips County, and a niece, Shannon Wiggins, of Hazen.
Saenger, who was married, met Norman Butler online in 2005 and told him she was a widow. Over the course of several years, Saenger persuaded Butler to send her hundreds of thousands of dollars for an uncle who did not exist, surgeries she never had and to buy a car, according to the court. Because Saenger knew Butler had memory problems, she would tell him he had not written her a check, when in fact he had.
In 2009, Doug Butler discovered that his father's savings accounts had been depleted and tracked Saenger down through a private investigator. It was through the investigator that he discovered Saenger had done time for second-degree murder in Arkansas. Butler won a civil suit against Saenger seeking restitution, but none was forthcoming. Saenger pleaded guilty to mail fraud in federal court in August.
Doug Butler is still pursuing action in Arkansas courts to recoup money Saenger sent to her family, and Wiggins and Lumpkin have countersued. Wiggins' case has been set for June in Prairie County; the Lumpkins' has not yet been set.