Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Radio host William Gallagher jailed for defrauding elderly Christian investors

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William Neil “Doc” Gallagher, a financial consultant and radio host who stole more than $20 million from investors, has been sentenced to 25 years behind bars after reaching a plea agreement with Dallas County prosecutors.

Gallagher, 79, pleaded guilty Friday to one count each of theft of more than $300,000, money laundering of more than $300,000 and securities fraud of more than $100,000.

In addition to the prison term, the former host of The Money Doctor has been ordered to pay $10,386,816.68 in restitution to his victims.

Gallagher has been in custody since his arrest last March, which came after he was indicted on the charges.

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Prosecutors said he targeted elderly, Christian listeners of his radio show and recommended that they meet with him to discuss their investments. In those meetings, he promised them annual returns of 5% to nearly 9% if they invested in securities with him — calling it “retirement income you’ll never outlive,” according to a criminal complaint.

Gallagher, who was not certified to advise clients on securities, took in as much as $29.2 million from about 60 investors from December 2014 to January 2019, authorities said. On Jan. 31, 2019, those accounts contained just $821,951.

Authorities said Gallagher operated a Ponzi scheme, paying out about $5.9 million to early investors by using newer investors’ money. He also used several million dollars for payroll, radio and website expenses as well as personal expenses including legal costs.

In 1999, the Texas State Securities Board had fined Gallagher $25,000 for falsely saying that he was a registered investment adviser and for faking check-receipt books.

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Following the indictment, his firm, Gallagher Financial Group, had its assets frozen and an attorney was appointed to oversee the funds.

“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.”

After his plea, Gallagher told the court he wanted to apologize to his friends and family, authorities said.

He faces additional charges in Tarrant County.

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