North Carolina Newspapers

Sentence for
false slavery
tax claims
By Justin Bergman
WARSAW,.Va. - Ciystal
Foster’s father advised her
to spend the $500,000
income tax refund she got
two years ago. When the
government came looking for
its money, the Fosters said it
was their rightful repara
tions, since their ancestors
were slaves.
Though there is no federal
reparations program, Foster
had spent the money in eight
days, buying a $40,000
Mercedes Benz, paying off
her student loans and help
ing her brother pay for his
first year at Virginia Tech.
Foster’s father, Robert Lee
Foster, prepared her tax
forms and was convicted
along with his daughter of
trying to defraud the govern
ment. He maintains he did
the right thing.
“Black people are not treat
ed as humans, but as things
by the U.S. government,” he
said in an interview at the
Northern Neck Regional
Jail. “We were used as
resources to enrich this
country and we get no inher
itance from the wealth we
According to the Internal
Revenue Service, more than
80,000 tax returns were filed
in 2001 seeking nonexistent
slavery tax credits, totaling
$2.7 billion. More than $30
million was mistakenly paid
out in slave reparations in
2000 and part of 2001.
That number dropped sig
nificantly last year after
stepped-up scrutiny of tax
returns and an aggressive
media campaign targeted
against scam artists promis
ing to secure tax credits for
But the government has
also begun quietly cracking
down on filers of false claims
after years of looking the
other way.
Foster and his daughter
each were convicted in July '
of conspiracy to defraud the
government. Robert Foster
also was convicted of four
counts and Crystal Foster of
one count of making false
Both were scheduled to be
sentenced in U.S. District
Court in Richmond on
Thursday. Defendants in
similar cases have received
up to seven years in prison.
The case against Robert
Foster has taken several
bizarre turns.
Foster renoimced his U.S.
citizenship in jail and pro
fessed allegiance to the
Moab Tiara Cherokee
Kituwah Nation, an obscure
Charlotte group whose
ittembers claim they are
descendants of African
Moors who came to the New
World before European colo-
-^Foster filed papers in U.S.
ijistrict Court seeking to
i^acate the judgment against
lum based on lack of jurisdic
tion by the U.S. government.
The judge rejected the
'! Foster also tried unsuc
cessfully to fire his attorney,
Thomas Johnson, and hire
an “indigenous attorney”
who identified himself as
justice secretary for the
Kituwah Nation.
Foster, a 51-year-old tax
return preparer, said he
endured years of racial dis
crimination during his
career with the U.S.
Department of Veterans
Affairs hospital ■ in
Richmond. In 2000, he sued
Please see RED CLOVER/2B
Women racing
clock on family
and career
By Artellia Burch.
Donnetta Collier, 39, knew at a
young age she wanted to complete
college, travel, become financially
stable and get married.
But what the Charlotte loan offi
cer didn’t know is by the time she
would be ready to do so, the small
pool of eligible and compatible men
would make her dream of having
kids a long shot.
“I grew up with sisters who were
teenage mothers,” Collier said.
“After sharing a room with one of
them, I knew I wanted to live fife,
get properly educated and finan
cially stable. What I didn’t know is
waiting for those things would
greatly reduce the prospects for
marriage as well as reduce my
chance to conceive.”
Women who postpone pregnancy
face a number of difficulties.
Fertihty and hope of a healthy
pregnancy decreases with age.
Studies show women over 35 are
more likely to need help for infertil
A growing number of women are
choosing to put off motherhood.
Collier is one of the 26.7 million
women age 15 to 44 who are child
less, a record number, according to
U.S. Census Bureau data. They
represent nearly 44 percent of
women in that age group.
The number of women in that age
group forgoing or putting off moth
erhood has grown nearly 10 percent
since 1990, when roughly 24.3 mil-
hon were in that category.
Direct comparisons before 1990
are not possible because the bureau
didn’t track women younger than
18 until then.
The latest numbers reflect the
well-established trend of more
women going to college and enter
ing the work force, then delaying
motherhood or deciding not to have
children. More also are choosing
adoption, said Martha Farnsworth
Riche, a demographer and former
head of the Census Bureau.
“I’m not one of those people who
have chosen not to have kids,” said
Collier. “I wanted to have a hus
band first then a child. But since 1
put off getting married and having
children to later I have less suitors,
which has reduced my chances of
ever getting married and children.”
The percentage of women 40 to 44
- those at the end of their child
bearing years who have not given
birth - has hovered around 18 per
cent since 1994, up from 10 percent
in 1976.
Women without diplomas and
those with bachelor’s degrees were
most likely to be childless. Also,
women with higher incomes had
the highest childless rates, in part a
group gets
By Hillel Italic
Morrison sits in the crowded
parlor of an old Brooklyn
mansion, a cup of tea, slight
ly tipped, in one hand. From
her high-backed chair in the
corner, she leans forward
and carefully surveys the
“So,” she begins, “'what did
you think?”
Seated around her,
squeezed together on sofas
and chairs, are 13 members
of the Mocha Moms, a
nationwide support group
for at-home parents of color.
They all hold copies of
Morrison’s new novel,
“Love,” a multigenerational
tale set at a coastal resort.
Many feel as if they lived
through the story them
Tammy Greer-Brown, a
mother of two from New
York City, confides that she
was getting a manicure-
pedicure while reading the
book. She became so upset
during one chapter, a rape
scene, that she left the salon
in tears.
“It made me reflect on my
life and situations where it
could have been me,” she
tells Morrison. ‘You helped
me to clear my mind about
my ovm fears, my past, my
present, my future. ... And I
am so grateful to you for
The 72-year-old Morrison,
a Nobel laureate whose nov
els include “Beloved” and
“Song of Solomon,” will
spend much of the fall giving
television interviews and
speaking at book fairs on
behalf of “Love.”
But on this recent after
noon, she meets with read
ers at the Akwaaba
Mansion, a 19th-century
home converted several
years ago into a bed and
breakfast. For Morrison, the
gathering can be likened to a
rock star making a club
“Publishers generally pre
fer the thing that gives you
the biggest bang for the
buck. But I really and truly
like to talk to readers,” says
Morrison, whose publisher,
Alfred A. Knopf, had heard
about the Mocha Moms and
helped arrange the discus
sion group.
“They relate. It’s all very
deeply personal, and that’s
good. I’m very accustomed to
the lit crits (literaiy critics),
which is fine, but this level of
reading, which is the first
level, is the heart for me.”
The Mocha Moms was
founded in 1997 by four
women in Maryland. It now
has more than 1,100 mem
bers, predominantly women
of color but the group also
includes men and whites.
The mission is "to support
and encourage women of
color who are making par
enting a priority in this sea-
Breast cancer risk high with gene mutation; exercise can help
By Paul Reger
WASHINGTON - Exercising
and maintaining a healthful
weight when young can delay the
onset of breast cancer in women at
very high risk of the disease,
according to a study of women
with a genetic mutation that gives
' them an 82 percent lifetime risk of
developing the disease.
Researchers also found that
women with mutations in the
BRCAl or BRCA2 gene have a 23
percent to 54 percent risk of ovari
an cancer, depending on which
gene is affected.
The study, appearing last week
in the journal Science, showed that
lifestyle during adolescence played
a role in when these high-risk
women developed breast cancer.
The finding was consistent with
earlier studies suggesting that
among women in general, exercise
and healthy weight early in life
can reduce a woman’s risk of devel
oping breast cancer after
“The possibility that lifestyle
changes such as increased exercise
and weight control could modify
the impact of genetic risk has very
intriguing implications, not only
for BRCA-related cancers but for
other breast cancers as weU,” said
Dr. Lany Norton, head of the divi-
Please see GENES/2B

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