Former financial adviser jailed for 3 life terms over $32m Ponzi scheme

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Former financial adviser jailed for 3 life terms over $32m Ponzi scheme

A former financial adviser in Texas has been sentenced to three life terms in prison for fleecing investors out of millions of dollars by preying on religious seniors, according to news reports.

William Gallagher, known as "Doc," pleaded guilty in August in connection with a $32m Ponzi scheme targeting senior citizens, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported, citing the Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney's Office.

Gallagher raised the money from about 12 victims who invested in Gallagher Financial Group, which he had advertised on Christian radio with the tag line "See you in church on Sunday," the District Attorney' Office said. 

"He worked his way around churches preying on people who believed he was a Christian," Lori Varnell, chief of the district attorney's office elder financial fraud team, wrote in a statement, according to the Star-Telegram.

On 1 November, State District Judge Elizabeth Beach sentenced Gallagher to the three life terms based on three charges: 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 a financial institution of over $300,000, according to the publication.

Beach also doled out a 30-year sentence to Gallagher on one count of forgery against the elderly and two counts of exploitation of the elderly, the Star-Telegram writes.

Gallagher had also pleaded guilty to similar charges in Dallas Country in 2020 and received a 25-year prison sentence, according to the publication.

Gallagher joined the financial services industry in 1985 and was registered with seven firms in his 15 years as a broker, according to BrokerCheck. In 2003, he became registered as an investment advisor with Pension Management, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission's Investment Advisor Public Disclosure database. His registration there ended in 2009, after which he didn't register with another firm.