A Texas radio host was sentenced to three life prison terms Monday for a Ponzi scheme in which he bilked elderly listeners out of millions of dollars. William Neil "Doc" Gallagher also got a 30-year prison sentence from state District Judge Elizabeth Beach for his August guilty pleas. The sentences are to be served concurrently.
The sentencing came after more than a dozen senior victims testified during a three-hour court hearing about losing anywhere from $50,000 to $600,000 invested in the Gallagher Financial Group. Some said they had to sell their homes, borrow money from their children or take part-time jobs to supplement their Social Security benefits.
"'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.
Gallagher has been behind bars since his March 2019 arrest on similar charges filed in Dallas County. In 2020, he pleaded guilty to those charges and was sentenced to 25 years in prison. He was indicted in Tarrant County in August 2019.
"He ruthlessly stole from his clients who trusted him for almost a decade. He amassed $32 million in loss to all of his clients and exploited many elder individuals. He worked his way around churches preying on people who believed he was a Christian," Varnell said in a statement.
CBS DFW reported that some of Gallagher's victims spoke of losing trust in people and of the depression they now suffer because of losing their savings through Gallagher's company.
"I'm afraid my money is going to run out," Judy Dewitt, one of the victims, said. "It's a very scary thing."
Susan Pippi, another victim, said, "I don't trust anybody anymore, except for God and my family."
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