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Ex-Advisor Gets 3 Life Sentences for Bilking Senior Churchgoers in Texas

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What You Need to Know

  • William Neil “Doc” Gallagher was also a radio personality known as the Money Doctor.
  • He advertised on Christian radio.
  • In addition to three life sentences in prison, the judge slapped him with an additional 30 years.

A former Texas advisor and radio personality known as the “Money Doctor” was sentenced Monday to three lifetimes in prison, plus another 30 years for good measure, by Judge Elizabeth Beach in Criminal District Court in Fort Worth, Texas, for running a Ponzi scheme that bilked seniors out of $32 million, according to Sharen Wilson, Tarrant County district attorney.

William Neil “Doc” Gallagher, 80, was indicted in Tarrant County in August 2019 and pleaded guilty on Aug. 31 this year to charges stemming from the scam that he ran in Hurst, Texas.

The three charges were securing the execution of a document by deception for an amount greater than $200,000, theft of property over $300,000 and misapplication of fiduciary property or property of financial institution of more than $300,000.

Beach slapped him with 10 more years each on three counts: one count of forgery against seniors and two counts of exploitation of seniors.

The Gallagher Financial Group had advertised on Christian radio with the tag line “See you in church on Sunday.” Gallagher also promoted his investment business in books, including “Jesus Christ, Money Master.”

In 2019, the Securities and Exchange Commission filed an emergency action against Gallagher to shut down what was, at the time, an alleged $19.6 million Ponzi scheme targeting older investors’ retirement funds. The SEC also charged Gallagher Financial Group and W. Neil Gallagher, Ph.D. Agency Inc., two companies that Gallagher used to conduct the scheme.

In 2020, he pleaded guilty to similar charges in Dallas County and was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

More than a dozen of his victims testified Monday at a three-hour court hearing, saying they lost $50,000 to $600,000 each after investing in the Gallagher Financial Group, according to Wilson. Some had to sell their homes, borrow money from their children or take part-time jobs to supplement their Social Security income as a result of the scam.

They spoke of losing trust in people and of the depression many of them now suffer after losing their money through Gallagher’s company, Wilson said.

“I’m afraid my money is going to run out,” said Judy Dewitt, one of the victims. “It’s a very scary thing.” She and the others who testified Monday asked Judge Beach to give Gallagher life in prison. “I don’t trust anybody anymore, except for God and my family,” said Susan Pippi, another victim, according to Wilson.

“’Doc’ Gallagher is one of the worst offenders I have seen,” Lori Varnell, chief of the Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney’s Elder Financial Fraud team, said in a statement. “He ruthlessly stole from his clients who trusted him for almost a decade.”

Gallagher “amassed $32 million in loss to all of his clients and exploited many elder individuals,” she said, adding: “He worked his way around churches preying on people who believed he was a Christian.”

There was at least one sign of trouble many years earlier in his 15 years as a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority-registered advisor and broker.

In 1999, the Texas State Securities Board fined him $25,000 for allegedly engaging in three fraudulent business practices and making two material misrepresentations to the Securities commissioner, all in violation of the Texas Securities Act, according to a disclosure on his report on FINRA’s BrokerCheck website.

Pictured: William Neil “Doc” Gallagher. Photo via Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office