Police: 'Toys for Tots' scammer targeting churches

WINDER — The DeKalb County woman who drew the ire of philanthropists last year for scamming the Toys for Tots charity is up to her old ways, Barrow County officials said.

Her new target, according to police: Churches.

Police on Tuesday night arrested Marsha Lynn Foster, 49, on theft by deception charges at a Best Western hotel in Winder.

Trolling the Yellow Pages for possible victims, Foster contacted more than 100 churches in Barrow and Jackson counties and bilked them of at least $1,000 in donations, food and gift cards, said Winder police spokeswoman Detective Sgt. Rachel Love.

Foster’s arrest came just weeks after she pleaded guilty to theft by deception and identity fraud charges related to the Toys for Tots ruse — crimes that had kept her behind bars for 10 months.

Foster preyed on at least five businesses in Gwinnett and Barrow counties by purporting herself as a Toys For Tots worker and collecting donations late last year. She hit other businesses in Bartow County, police said.

Merchants described Foster as articulate and conniving. A representative with Toys For Tots in Atlanta said the scam was a first for the charity.

“Foster is no stranger to the Winder community,” Love said.

Foster remains at the Barrow County Detention Center. An investigation continues and more charges are possible, Love said.

In exchange for Foster’s guilty plea in the earlier case, she was given credit for the 10 months she’d served in jail and was sentenced to probation. As of Tuesday, she had not reported to her assigned probation officer, Love said.

As part of her probation, the court had barred Foster from being in Barrow, Banks and Jackson counties.

Police urge anyone who thinks their church or business was recently contacted by Foster to call Detective Sgt. Rachel Love at 678-425-6887.