Christian Radio Host Gets 3 Life Prison Terms for Bilking Listeners

By Associated Press
Doc Gallagher
William Neil "Doc" Gallagher, a Christian radio host in Texas, was sentenced to three life prison sentences on Nov. 1, 2021, for a Ponzi scheme in which he bilked elderly listeners out of millions of dollars. (Dallas County Sheriff's Department via AP, File)

A Christian radio host in Texas was sentenced to three life prison sentences 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. The sentencing is the latest of several recent fraud indictments.

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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.

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5 thoughts on “Christian Radio Host Gets 3 Life Prison Terms for Bilking Listeners”

  1. Nice to see the value of human life in America in 2021… most serial killers don’t get 30 years. Thirty years–for talking people with get-rich-quick visions into parting with money?

    These prosecutions make a total mockery of the system. Nobody puts a gun to your head to force you into a risky investment.

    1. I suspect the sentence duration will be overturned on appeal. But then this is Texas, and bilking rich Evangelicals of their money is a more serious crime than murder in these peoples’ minds.

      But then their local governments have better things to do like contracting out to go after abortion providers to the highest bidder (doesn’t matter what state the contractors reside).

    2. While I agree the sentencing seems over the top (he’d likely still die in prison even with a much shorter one), the victim blaming is completely uncalled for. He didn’t pick his targets from random people on the street, he carefully selected among the elderly and vulnerable, choosing those who were no longer able to make sound judgements about financial matters and who they can trust through dementia and other age-related deficits.

  2. My guess here is that there are multiple sentences for multiple charges that are to be served on top of one another, adding up to multiple life sentences. Very likely to be appealed.
    But this does NOT make bilking others out of their money ok. Let’s not redirect the conversation to downplay that.

    1. Marin Heiskell,

      Doc Gallagher will have to answer to God for whatever he did. I’m not justifying him. I’m talking about the way our legal system weighs offenses and values life.

      Money, money, money is how America works and runs and it’s really all we care about. How dare some rich snowflake get conned even if it was their own fault–but the life of some poor girl or old man isn’t worth crap unless they have or had some friends in high places.

      We have some actual rapists sentenced to three or four months in a country-club jail, we have some murderers that don’t serve any time at all because they have good lawyers… meanwhile, you get thirty years for sweet-talking some Karen retirees.

      I think I have enough grasp on Scripture to say that the former is substantially more evil in God’s eyes than the latter.

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