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A grift too far

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And so they kill the goose:

William Neil Gallagher, a Texas radio host known as the Money Doctor who promoted his business on Christian radio, was sentenced to three life terms for a Ponzi scheme that defrauded more than 190 listeners of at least $23 million.

Mr. Gallagher, 80, targeted older investors, promoting his company, Gallagher Financial Group, in churches and on the radio, according to prosecutors. The company had offices in Dallas and in Hurst, a city about 25 miles west from Dallas in Tarrant County.

Mr. Gallagher, who went by the nickname Doc, pleaded guilty on Aug. 31 to several charges connected to what prosecutors described as a Ponzi scheme that lasted nearly 10 years and bilked older people of their retirement savings. He was sentenced to three life sentences on Monday and an additional 30 years for charges of forgery against the elderly and exploitation of the elderly.

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

You can make a good living selling your marks listeners brain pills and GOOOOOOOLD! But he just went too far without being rich enough to get away with it.

Incidentally, I need to write this up more fully, but Emily St. John Mandel’s The Glass Hotel — about the family of a woman who finds out her husband is a Madoff-like Ponzi scheme operator — is the best new novel I’ve read in many years. This kind of case, where many more of the investors aren’t rich, has a particularly gruesome human toll.

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