Today's proceedings in Van Nuys Superior Court could not have gotten any weirder:
Lucius Foster, the 89-year-old father of actress Jodie, was declared "guilty" of concocting a home-building scheme that leeched thousands of dollars off the house-hunting 99 percent. At his sentencing tomorrow, he could get up to 25.5 years in jail, City News Service reports. Prosecutors call him the "Bernie Madoff of Sherman Oaks." (Not to be confused with the Bernie Madoff of Beverly Hills.)
We don't know whether to be mad or amazed.
Foster, who acted as his own lawyer, is almost a century old, yet has succeeded in running a full-time housing scam worthy of "21 counts of grand theft and nine counts of contracting without a license."
He allegedly advertised the cheap modular homes via "his Modernistic Properties website, referrals from Realtors and postings on Craigslist," with the finesse of a modern-day Internet whiz -- and even informed the jury today that he has no plans of stopping.
Wish we could have seen this guy in action. Foster was reportedly defending himself up a storm, dropping Department of Building & Safety disses and insisting: "We're going to get [the money] back to them."
He urged the jury to hurry up and sentence him already, asking only that "I want to be alive when I get out."
Outlook not so good. Even if the maximum sentence is whittled down, we're thinking Occupy Wall Street protesters might storm his house before he can dupe any more innocents. From the City News report:
Each alleged victim gave Foster a deposit of $5,000 toward the home purchase and received a contract stating the house would be completed by a certain date, [Deputy City Attorney Don Cocek] said.
After the completion dates passed, Foster gave various excuses "but no house was ever built," the prosecutor said.
On the more amusing side of this mess is an additional allegation by Gerry Ramirez, Compton resident.
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[Ramirez] said previously that Foster had told him of his familial relationship to the two-time Academy Award-winning actress "as validation and to build credibility."
His daughter, on the other hand, has made it very clear that she's not on board, calling her estranged father "the bad guy in [the] family."
Ouch. Even Jodie's got to have a pinch of admiration, deep down, for an 89-year-old geezer who can still scam recession victims like a baby rattlesnake on Wall Street. Another upside to all this: Foster will surely give those brutal bullies at the L.A. County Sheriff's Department a run for their money, come jailtime.