Metro

June 15, 2024

American pastor sentenced to 35 years in prison for stealing 3 churches with fake deeds

stealing 3 churches

A Dallas pastor has been sentenced to 35 years in prison after he was convicted of stealing property from three churches by filing fraudulent deeds. Courtesy: McClatchy Co. A Dallas pastor has been sentenced to 35 years in prison after he was convicted of stealing property from three churches by filing fraudulent deeds.

A jury found Whitney Foster, 56, guilty of theft of property valued at $300,000 or more, Dallas County Criminal District Attorney John Creuzot said in a news release. The actual combined value of the stolen properties exceeded $800,000, authorities said. “Stealing real estate is an incredibly serious and damaging crime,” Creuzot said.

“It’s worse than the theft of someone’s vehicle or other possessions. When someone steals property, we must hold them accountable because they are hurting people.” Foster was the pastor of a small congregation that did not have a physical place to gather.

He stole church buildings and land by filing fraudulent deeds that listed fake leadership for the victim churches as the grantors and naming his church as the grantee, according to the district attorney’s office. The churches from which Foster stole were First Christian Church of Lancaster and two in Dallas — Canada Drive Christian Church and Church at Nineveh, authorities said.

Two of properties are still listed under the defendant’s name or his church’s name, and his congregation has been gathering at one of them, Creuzot said.

The third church property “remains embroiled in legal complications caused by Foster’s actions,” according to the news release.

Prosecutors also presented the jury with evidence of seven additional fraudulent deeds.

Homeowners in many Texas counties can register their property for a deed fraud alert service, which will send an alert via email whenever a document is filed on your property.