Former Whitefish Bay barbershop owner convicted of child porn

Nov. 30, 2012

A former Whitefish Bay barber who tried to frame his landlord on child pornography charges has been convicted of the crime himself, and now faces at least 30 years in prison.

David P. Foley, 50, who ran the Sport N Cuts barbershop at 402 E. Silver Spring Drive in Whitefish Bay, was charged last year after a 15-month criminal investigation.

A federal jury in Milwaukee this week found Foley, of Shorewood, guilty of six counts, including producing, distributing and possessing child pornography, and transporting an underage boy across a state line for the purpose of sex. Foley is accused of taking an unnamed teenage boy to the Mall of America in Minnesota and sexually assaulting him in their hotel room during the trip.

Foley, described by a state prosecutor as "quintessential confidence man," has a long record of arrests and convictions for bad checks here and in Florida. One case started with an investigation into claims Foley voted illegally, a charge he later beat by passing a polygraph test prosecutors felt he would fail because they had solid evidence against him.

According to court records, authorities were tipped to Foley in August 2010 by a WITI-TV (Channel 6) news reporter who had been sent a DVD with images and videos of child pornography and labeled with the name of a Whitefish Bay businessman. The reporter turned the package over to a state Department of Criminal Investigations agent who specializes in child porn. Authorities later determined the businessman was owed more than $50,000 in back rent by Foley, and were able to trace the creation of the child pornography back to Foley himself.

According to a 70-page search warrant affidavit, authorities determined that the DVD came from Foley, and that Foley was trying to set up the businessman, who owned the building where Foley operated his barbershop. The businessman told officials that Foley had made defamatory Internet blog postings about him, claiming that the businessman was a child molester. The anonymous postings were later traced back to Foley.

Search warrants were issued for Foley's former Shorewood home and the Whitefish Bay barbershop and authorities seized numerous computers and electronic storage devices - flash drives, digital cameras, cellphones, CDs and DVDs - along with financial records.

The unnamed teenage boy told investigators that Foley asked him to use a cellphone to help set up the Whitefish Bay businessman and frame him as a child pornographer.

Another teenage boy, who was paired with Foley through Big Brothers Big Sisters, also told investigators that Foley molested him.

Both boys wound up testifying at the trial, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Penelope Coblentz. The 14-year-old seen in videos had met Foley through the barbershop, she said, and was given a job, gifts and much attention by Foley. She said the boy was unaware he was being photographed or recorded during sexual acts.

The other boy was 11 when he met Foley through the Big Brothers program, and is 17 now. Coblentz said the teen collapsed in his father's arms after testifying this week.

Coblentz said Foley faces minimum mandatory sentences of 15, 10 and five years when he is sentenced in February.

Foley is also facing sentencing in state court Dec. 13 for bail jumping, fraud and bad check charges relating to his efforts to defraud his own business partner and a plastic surgeon.

Court records show Foley got break after break as he battled fraud charges over the years. In 2009, he agreed to plead no contest to a check kiting charge, and prosecutors agreed to a withheld judgment if Foley stuck to barbering. But during the year he was to stay out of trouble, he once again began setting up bank accounts and was ultimately convicted and sent to prison.

Foley was still in custody when the federal charges were filed.

The bank fraud came to light when investigators subpoenaed signature cards while investigating a complaint Foley voted in 2006 while on probation for an earlier fraud. Ultimately, as part of an agreement to resolve the bank fraud, prosecutors agreed to dismiss the vote fraud charge if Foley could pass a polygraph test, according to court records.

He did, proving, wrote Assistant District Attorney Bruce Landgraf, that "David Foley can con just about anyone into anything."

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