Dallas Pastor Gets 35 Years for Fraudulent Property Deeds

Whitney Foster | Image by Dallas County Sheriff's Office
Whitney Foster | Image by Dallas County Sheriff's Office

A local pastor has been sentenced to 35 years in prison after being found guilty of using fraudulent deeds to steal church properties in Dallas and Lancaster.

The Dallas County District Attorney’s Office announced on Monday that 56-year-old Whitney Foster was convicted after jurors were presented with evidence of him illegally taking over 10 different properties, including those belonging to three churches. Foster has prior convictions for identity theft and arson.

The three church properties at the center of the case — First Christian Church of Lancaster, and, in Dallas, Canada Drive Christian Church and Church at Nineveh — are valued at over $800,000, which led to Foster’s conviction of a first-degree felony for theft of property valued at $300,000 or more.

His scheme involved filing falsified deeds for the properties, listing a non-existent individual as the grantor, and naming himself or his church, True Foundation Non-Denominational Church, as the grantee.

While Foster is being held in Dallas County jail, his congregation occupies one of the properties, which the DA’s office describes as “embroiled in legal complications caused by Foster’s actions.”

“Property ownership is a bedrock of our society — it provides security, a home, a place to love and welcome each other. It also represents a very active part of our economy, both in terms of buying, selling, and renting property, as well as property taxes that support everything our government does for the citizens of Dallas County,” said Phillip Clark, the lead prosecutor on Foster’s case.

“Deed Fraud cases are not simply disputes; they are lies and fraud — they are theft — and they are deeply damaging. I’m so grateful that the jury saw the truth in this case and held the defendant to account,” added Clark.

To help avoid becoming a victim of fraud, the DA’s office recommends that homeowners register their properties using the free Deed Fraud Alert Service offered by Dallas County and other areas. This added layer of protection allows for quick action in response to fraudulent filings.

“If you own a home or a property, pay attention. Take care of it,” Clark told Fox 4 KDFW. “Monitor if something comes along that is problematic. Act on it.”

In Dallas, white-collar crime, such as fraud or embezzlement, has been reported 1,000 times this year as of June 10, according to the City’s crime analytics dashboard. Most of these incidents are listed as “confidence schemes.”

With roughly six to seven reports of white-collar crime being reported in Dallas on average each day, this represents a considerable toll on law enforcement resources.

The Dallas Police Department has been struggling with a significant staffing shortage, which has reduced its efficiency in keeping response times down and combating non-violent crime. DPD fields around 3,000 officers, roughly 1,000 short of the 4,000 officers recommended in a City analysis of public safety needs by population size.

Additionally, City leaders have approved a budget of just $654 million for DPD this fiscal year, putting Dallas at the low end of police spending compared to other high-crime municipalities nationwide.

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