Texas Radio Host Who Bilked Listeners Out of Millions Is Sentenced to Life

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William Neil Gallagher, 80, took astatine slightest $23 cardinal from much than 190 radical to substance a Ponzi strategy utilizing their status savings, according to tribunal records.

William Neil Gallagher was sentenced to 3  beingness  sentences connected  Monday.
Credit...Dallas County Sheriff's Department, via Associated Press

Nov. 2, 2021, 5:48 p.m. ET

William Neil Gallagher, a Texas vigor big known arsenic the Money Doctor who promoted his concern connected Christian radio, was sentenced to 3 beingness presumption for a Ponzi strategy that defrauded much than 190 listeners of astatine slightest $23 million.

Mr. Gallagher, 80, targeted older investors, promoting his company, Gallagher Financial Group, successful churches and connected the radio, according to prosecutors. The institution had offices successful Dallas and successful Hurst, a metropolis astir 25 miles westbound from Dallas successful Tarrant County.

Mr. Gallagher, who went by the nickname Doc, pleaded blameworthy connected Aug. 31 to respective charges connected to what prosecutors described arsenic a Ponzi strategy that lasted astir 10 years and bilked older radical of their status savings. He was sentenced to 3 beingness sentences connected Monday and an further 30 years for charges of forgery against the aged and exploitation of the elderly.

“Doc Gallagher is 1 of the worst offenders I person seen,” Lori Varnell, main of the elder fiscal fraud portion astatine the Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney’s office, said successful a statement. “He ruthlessly stole from his clients who trusted him for astir a decade.”

In March 2020, a Dallas County justice sentenced Mr. Gallagher to 25 years successful authorities situation and ordered him to wage much than $10 cardinal successful restitution to the victims of his scheme. He pleaded blameworthy to the charges successful that case.

A lawyer for Mr. Gallagher did not instantly respond to messages seeking comment.

Anna Tinsley Williams, a spokeswoman for the Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney’s office, said that 192 victims had claimed they mislaid $38 cardinal erstwhile they gave their wealth to the Gallagher Financial Group.

The Securities and Exchange Commission charged Mr. Gallagher successful March 2019 with moving a Ponzi scheme, efficaciously shutting down the operation.

A national justice appointed Cort Thomas, a lawyer astatine Brown Fox successful Dallas, to retrieve the losses, which Mr. Thomas estimated astatine much than $23 million, according to national tribunal records.

So far, Mr. Thomas has distributed astir $3.3 cardinal to the victims, according to the records. He has besides sued Salem Media, which owns the vigor stations connected which Mr. Gallagher hosted his show.

Salem Media, which is based successful Irving, Texas, did not instantly respond to requests for comment.

Mr. Gallagher promoted himself arsenic an experienced capitalist with a Ph.D. successful doctrine from Brown University, offering clients a way to fiscal stableness and a amended beingness done “personal responsibility” and “less government,” with “the assistance of God.”

“His life’s passionateness is to assistance radical discontinue safe, aboriginal and happy,” according to a video detailing his biography.

He wrote 4 books, including “Burning: Passionate Prayers for Men connected Fire” and “Jesus Christ, Money Master.”

Mr. Gallagher promised a 5 to 8 percent instrumentality connected his clients’ investments, according to tribunal records. A immense bulk of his clients were radical successful their 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s, and middle-class radical who were not looking for tremendous returns, but a unchangeable status fund, according to tribunal records.

Instead, Mr. Gallagher deposited his investors’ wealth into a azygous relationship that helium controlled and past utilized to marque payments to earlier investors, “a classical Ponzi scheme,” according to the suit filed by Mr. Thomas against Salem Media.

According to the S.E.C., Mr. Gallagher exhausted “virtually each capitalist funds” and utilized “significant portions for idiosyncratic and institution expenses and to marque Ponzi payments to investors.”

To conceal the scheme, helium drew up mendacious relationship statements that showed fake balances, the S.E.C. said.

In tribunal connected Monday, much than a twelve victims of the strategy described being forced to merchantability their homes, get wealth from their children oregon instrumentality part-time jobs to supplement their Social Security payments.

“I’m acrophobic my wealth is going to tally out,” Judy Dewitt, 1 of the victims, said successful court, according to a connection released by Tarrant County prosecutors. “It’s a precise scary thing.”

Alyssa Lukpat contributed reporting.

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