In November, Fort Worth-based William Gallagher was sentenced to 3 life terms in prison and an additional 30 years, all to be served concurrently.
The 80-year-old Gallagher, who wrote “Jesus Christ, Money Master,” used Christian radio and meetings held in churches to promote his fake investment “Ponzi” schemes. Gallagher billed himself and his company, Gallagher Financial Group, as financial services experts. As of this writing, his Linked-In page still claims 11-50 employees.
Ms. Lori Varnell, chief of the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Elder Financial Fraud team, told the BBC News that she wasn’t surprised Doc Gallagher would use Christian radio to dupe his victims. “Within the Christian community, there’s a high level of trust. Especially here in the Bible Belt,” she said. “Once you start speaking the Christian language, and using their words, their phrases, that will be a tell-tale sign to other Christians that you’re a Christian.”
Gallagher promised unusually high returns of 5% to 8% annually on investments and even provided fake financial statements to present to his investors. The BBC also reported his scheme amassed $32 million dollars.
Gallagher’s Christianity-cloaked scheme, also known as religious affinity fraud, deceived many trusting elderly investors—mostly between the ages of 62 and 91—and left a wake of financially destroyed victims, bereft of their life’s retirement savings.