Jodie Foster's father jailed over home scam

Posted at 12/10/2011 9:55 AM | Updated as of 12/10/2011 9:55 AM

LOS ANGELES - Jodie Foster's estranged father was jailed for five years Friday over a property scam in which he touted his relation to his famous daughter to lure customers to part with money.

Judge Gregory Dohi voiced concern that Lucius Fisher Foster III, 89, convicted earlier this week, had shown no indication that he would stop soliciting customers.
 
"Despite your personal charm, you are dangerous," the judge said at the courthouse in Van Nuys, just north of Los Angeles, telling Foster that he was "continuing your business as we speak."
 
A jury took just three hours to find him guilty Wednesday on 21 counts of grand theft and nine of contracting without a license after allegedly cheating nearly two dozen investors out of more than $100,000.
 
Foster, who is estranged from his daughter, offered to build homes for 20 alleged victims in the San Fernando Valley north of Los Angeles, after contacting them through his own property website or referrals from realtors.
 
He "told at least half the victims that he is Jodie's father as part of the scam to build up trust," Deputy City Attorney Don Cocek told the court during the trial.
 
Each alleged victim gave Foster a deposit of $5,000 and received a contract for their home to be build, "but no house was ever built," said the prosecutor.
 
One of his victims, 26-year-old Corrinne Unsell of Long Beach, south of Los Angeles, told the judge that she and her husband had invested $10,000 with Foster in 2008.
 
"He's either the liar of the century or he's delusional," she said. "Either way he's dangerous. It does not matter that he's 89 years old .. We all know what he's capable of."
 
Foster -- who could have been jailed for up to 25 years -- remains estranged from his famous daughter. "If you had a bad guy in your family, wouldn't you draw walls around him?" he said before the verdict was announced.
 
A publicist for Jodie Foster -- star of "The Silence of the Lambs," "Panic Room" and "Contact" -- said she would not comment.