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Former Senate Commerce Staffer Indicted for Defrauding Vulnerable Women

Known as a fixture on Capitol Hill until his January 2010 retirement, longtime Senate staffer Robert Lee Foster is now making headlines for his alleged involvement in a scheme to defraud vulnerable women for approximately $500,000.  

A Virginia grand jury on Thursday indicted the 65-year-old man, who worked as a staffer on the Senate Commerce Committee for more than three decades, on nine counts of wire fraud, allegedly connected to his Senate Federal Credit Union account. The grand jury charged that Foster defrauded at least three women of approximately $500,000, from 2008 through May 2015. He allegedly used his affiliation with the Senate to gain the trust and confidence of a 54-year-old recent widow from California, a 70-year-old stroke victim from Texas and a 75-year-old D.C. resident who was taking care of a partner suffering from dementia.  

The indictment alleges Foster falsely claimed he needed the money for debt repayment, legal costs, business expenses or foreign travel, according to court documents. He also pretended his credit card had been “hacked,” the government said. Foster allegedly promised to repay the loans, which ranged from $5,300 to $150, but spent the money for his own personal benefit.  

In a 2006 interview with “HistoryMakers,” the South Carolina native recalled his 1969 move to D.C. He obtained a position as a file clerk and messenger boy in what was then the office of the Senate Commerce Committee within a week of arriving. Foster worked his way up the ladder to become a lead professional staffer.  

The case was investigated by the FBI and is being prosecuted by lawyers in the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section, as well as the assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.  

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