Chief Investigative Reporter

Jeremy Finley is the chief investigator for News4 Investigates. His reporting has resulted in criminal convictions, legislative hearings before the U.S. Congress, and the payout of more than a million dollars to scam victims.

A sister is paying the price for following her brother's advice.

Noel Sims was sentenced Friday to two days in jail and nine years total of probation for taking part of a scheme to ultimately try and steal a Nolensville family's home.

It all started when Brad Qualls was first approached by law enforcement about what he believed to be a threat and a scheme, and they were hesitant to move forward.

"That's why we reached out to News4 Investigates, because we knew you would look into it," Qualls said.

Two and a half years later, Noel Sims was convicted Wednesday of attempting to steal Qualls' home, worth more than $250,000, and criminal simulation.

"Right when you heard the guilty verdict, it just took a lot of pressure off your shoulders," Qualls said.

Sims, her mother, her ex-husband and her brother are all accused of taking part in the scheme to try and convince the Qualls that the family was trespassing in their own home.

News4 Investigates uncovered that Sims' brother, Leighton Ward, was accused of a similar schemes across the country.

Prosecutors describe Ward as a sovereign citizen who doesn't believe in our government and considers all of our mortgages fraudulent.

Ward's family, including Sims, sold their Nolensville home to the Qualls, and then Ward approached them that they were trespassing in the home because their mortgage was fraudulent. 

Sims told News4 Investigates in 2018 that she was innocent and believed her brother was only trying to right wrongs laid out in our mortgages.

Sims said her brother suggested she get involved because he felt the home was unfairly sold.

Upon the guilty verdict, Sims referenced our request for comment to her attorney, who did not return our call by our deadline.

Ward is out of state, awaiting extradition to Tennessee.

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