For years, Texan William Neil “Doc” Gallagher hosted a radio show called “The Money Doctor” in which he dispensed investment advice to an audience that included plenty of elderly Christians. He even urged them to give him their life savings so he could invest it on their behalf.
Turns out he was a Ponzi-wannabe who use the money of recent investors to pay off the older ones. It all caught up to him eventually. 60 people gave him roughly $29.2 million to invest beginning in 2014. By 2019, that money was down to under $1 million.
In April of 2020, he was sentenced to 25 years behind bars and told to pay back $10 million in restitution.
“He took advantage of some of the most vulnerable people in our society,” lead prosecutor Alexis Goldate said in a written statement announcing the sentencing. “He targeted elderly investors and individuals attracted to his Christian ideals and then stole from them.”
But here’s the thing about that sentencing: It was in Dallas County. Gallagher was also charged with these crimes in Tarrant County — which warranted a separate trial with a separate possible punishment.
This time, the sentencing was even more harsh: After more than a dozen victims testified against him, telling the court how they lost their life savings, were forced to borrow cash from their kids, and even had to take extra jobs in their free time to make up for lost income, Gallagher was sentenced to a separate 30-year sentence, which will be served concurrently with his other sentence. That’s technically three life sentences for his crimes.
“Doc Gallagher is one of the worst offenders I have seen,” said Lori Varnell, chief of the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Elder Financial Fraud team.
Gallagher, 80, and his Gallagher Financial Group advertised on Christian radio with the tagline, “See you in church on Sunday.” He promoted his investment business in books, such as “Jesus Christ, Money Master,” and on Christian radio broadcasts.
It’s not surprising that someone claiming to have financial knowledge would be running a con. It’s especially not surprising that someone would con older Christians, the sort of people who watch televangelists and are more likely to believe people in positions of authority who speak with confidence.
It’s disappointing. But it’s far from shocking. At this point, it would be more surprising to learn that elderly Christians caught on to his lie.
(Thanks to everyone for the link. Large portions of this article were published earlier)