Dallas pastor sentenced to 35 years in prison for stealing 3 church properties

A Dallas pastor will spend 35 years in prison for stealing three churches in Dallas County.

Whitney Foster created fraudulent deeds for the churches and took control of the properties. But prosecutors say they have evidence he illegally took control of additional properties.

First Christian Church of Lancaster is the church that sounded the alarm back in 2019. 

Once Lancaster police brought the case to the Dallas County DA’s Office, investigators discovered Foster was tied to other churches across the county. 

Last month, the Dallas pastor was found guilty of felony theft after filing fraudulent deeds to take the three properties valued at more than $800,000.

Dallas County Assistant DA Phillip Clark says First Christian Church of Lancaster was the first church to take notice back in 2019. 

"What he wanted people to think was that because he was a non-profit that he had the ability and right to just move in on another non-profit’s property," Clark said.

According to this arrest warrant affidavit, the church told police someone named "Aaron Finley" claimed to be the chairman of the Lancaster church and sold the property to Foster for $10. There was no one on the board named Aaron Finley. 

Whitney Foster

Clark tells FOX 4 that Foster testified he thought the Lancaster church was abandoned even after he attended a Sunday service and spoke with the church’s leadership. 

"Showed up in their house of worship. Then days later, they find he filed this deed," Clark said.

Investigators uncovered Foster’s fraudulent scheme was also tied to two Dallas churches: Church at Nineveh and Canada Drive Church. 

As of Monday, both churches are in Foster or his church’s name. 

Foster’s congregation, True Foundation Non-Denominational Church, is still actively gathering on Canada Drive. 

Clark thinks Foster intended to grow his congregation. 

"He was just taking it upon himself to take property from people. He completely upended and disrupted other congregations," he said.

Before all of this, Clark says Foster’s small congregation did not have a physical place to gather. 

It took First Christian Church of Lancaster years to recover ownership. However, it’s still trying to fix the problems Foster created. 

"If you own a home or a property, pay attention. Take care of it," Clark said. "Monitor if something comes along that is problematic. Act on it."

The three churches named were used to indict Foster. 

However, during the punishment phase, prosecutors presented seven additional fraudulent deeds tied to Foster. That’s 10 properties total.

Clark says some date back to before 2017. 

Foster plans to appeal.