Actress Jodie Foster's Estranged Father Sentenced to Jail

Prosecutor called him "the Bernie Madoff of Sherman Oaks"

By Yvonne Beltzer
|  Friday, Dec 9, 2011  |  Updated 6:00 PM PDT
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Don Cocek, Los Angeles Deputy City Attorney, called Lucius Foster “the Bernie Madoff of Sherman Oaks."

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Calling him "dangerous," a Van Nuys Superior Court judge sentenced actress Jodie Foster’s estranged father Friday to five years in county jail.

Before pronouncing a sentence, Judge Gregory Dohi said he was struck by Lucius Foster’s lack of remorse.

“Despite your obvious charm, your compelling life story, you’re dangerous,” said the judge.

Foster, 89, was convicted this week of 21 counts of grand theft and nine counts of contracting without a license. Each of the crimes were misdemeanors, meaning Foster would be sentenced to jail, not prison.

Don Cocek, Los Angeles Deputy City Attorney, called Foster “the Bernie Madoff of Sherman Oaks” after this week’s verdict.

Foster was convicted of bilking at least 21 elderly and/or low income residents out of $5,000 down payments after promising them he was developing modular homes from shipping containers. No homes were ever built and when the victims sought their money returned, he ignored them.

At Friday’s sentencing hearing, Cocek said another nine victims have come forward, including a chaplain at the Veterans Administration Hospital.

During the trial, the prosecutor said Foster used his World War II war stories, lies and personal charm to steal as much as $130,000 from prospective homeowners.

Several of the victims shared their stories at the sentencing hearing.

“Mr. Foster is not a good citizen since he lies since Day One,” said Gerry Ramirez who told the judge he’d tried to get his money back.

Tom Marks stared down at Foster as he admitted he’d lost six to seven thousand dollars to someone he thought had been a friend. “I trusted you,” he said.

Corrinne Unsell claimed her dealings with Foster almost led to a divorce. After signing a contract with Foster, her husband lost his job and their pleas for their money to be returned fell on deaf ears.

“Has he admitted how many lives he has ruined?” she asked. “It does not matter that Foster is 89 years old, we all know what he is capable of.”

She asked the judge to lock him up to prevent other people from going through what she has faced.

The prosecutor called Foster “a predator” and claimed that while the jury was deliberating on Tuesday, Foster was already lining up new victims.

Cocek said Foster emailed one of them and claimed he would be out of jail in just 160 days.

Foster’s daughter-in-law, Diana Foster, did take the stand on his behalf, but she also apologized to the victims.

“I care about this man,” she said. “He’s a generous man, a generous man. He’s my father-in-law and I love you Lucius.”

“I don’t want to take my children, his grandchildren to see him behind bars,” she said, adding that his age was also an issue.

In the end, however, the judge concluded Foster was a delusional man who had hurt the middle class and the lower middle class and would go on doing so unless stopped.

Just before he was led away by the bailiff, Foster genuflected.

Lucius Foster left actor Jodie Foster's mother before the actress was born.

A restitution hearing will be held in February.

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