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Clinton County Homebuilder Given 2-Year Sentence for Stealing $50,500 From Elderly Couple


(COLUMBUS, Ohio) — A Clinton County homebuilder with “a troubling criminal history replete with crimes of dishonesty” will spend two years in prison for accepting a $50,500 down payment from an elderly couple but never starting work on their house or refunding the money.

Judge John W. Rudduck of the Clinton County Common Pleas Court sentenced Michael Foster, owner of Five 13 Properties, to 24 months in prison and ordered him to repay his victims the $50,500.

Foster, who was indicted in March on three felony counts, pleaded guilty in October to one of the charges – theft from a person in a protected class – as part of a plea agreement reached with the office of Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost. The two other charges were dropped.

In imposing prison time for Foster, the judge cited the defendant’s dubious 10-year record of similar crimes and noted that community control didn’t deter him from more criminal activity. Foster was being monitored on community control from a theft in Hamilton County when he committed the Clinton County theft.

“All the defendant has done since being granted community control . . . is produce more victims,” the judge wrote in his sentencing entry.

Attorney General Yost applauded Rudduck’s decision.

"Protecting our older adults from any and all fraud and deception is a top priority,” said Yost, whose Economic Crimes Unit investigated and prosecuted the case. “This sentencing sends a clear message that those who exploit vulnerable individuals will be held accountable.”

The Attorney General’s Economic Crimes Unit, part of the Consumer Protection Section, is dedicated to pursuing justice for Ohioans who are financially exploited. This is the unit's first case involving Foster, whose criminal history includes:

  • A 2013 felony theft charge reduced to a misdemeanor in Warren County.
  • A fifth-degree felony theft charged filed in December 2018 in Hamilton County.
  • A 2021 guilty plea to fourth-degree felony theft in Hamilton County, for which he was sentenced to three years of community control and ordered to pay $12,750 in restitution.
  • Felony charges of grand theft filed in 2023 in both Warren and Clinton counties. In the Warren County case, the defendant pleaded guilty to theft involving an estimated $125,000 and was granted community control.
On the morning of his sentencing in Clinton County, Foster paid $3,000 into an escrow account for his victims, but the judge downplayed the payment: “It is not a get-out-of-jail-free card given the totality of the circumstances.”

Hannah Hundley: 614-906-9113

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