Christian Radio Host’s Ponzi Scheme Gets 3 Life Sentences, A Bible Warning

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The Bible warns us there will be false preachers, teachers, and prophets. The conviction of a Christian radio host for a Ponzi scheme reminds us all that we must use discernment and test those who claim to do God’s work.

Christian radio host uses Ponzi scheme to bilk millions from the elderly

“Having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.”

– 2 Timothy 3:5

“See you in church on Sunday,” with the tagline of Doc Gallagher’s Christian radio show, where he promoted his investment business through books such as “Jesus Christ, Money Master,” he sold through his Gallagher Financial Group.

His full name is William Neal Gallagher. He defrauded nearly 200 investors in the name of Christ. He received three life prison sentences in Fort Worth Texas for a Ponzi scheme in which he bilked millions of dollars from mostly elderly listeners, NBC reported.

Gallagher, 80, pled guilty in August and was also convicted earlier this year for money laundering and security fraud, the Dallas Morning News reported. He collected money without having a required state license needed to be an investment advisor.

Gallagher collected $32 million and lost nearly $23 million. According to reports, he didn’t invest much, if any of his client’s money in legitimate investments. In classic Ponzi scheme fashion, he used the money from newer investors to pay off earlier investors. The majority of his investors were elderly persons, many of whom invested their life savings in Gallagher’s schemes.

Over a dozen senior victims testified in court, losing anywhere from $50,000-$600,000, revealing having to sell their homes, borrowing money from children, or taking part-time jobs to supplement their Social Security benefits, CBS reported.

In addition, he also received a 30-year sentence from Texas District Judge Elizabeth Beach, which will be served concurrently.

The chief of the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Elder Financial Fraud team, Lori Varnell, called Gallagher “one of the worst offenders I have seen.”

“He ruthlessly stole from his clients who trusted him for almost a decade,” Varnell said in a statement. “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.”

“For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.”

–2 Corinthians 11:13-15

What the Bible says about false preachers, teachers and prophets

Jesus said:

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.”

– Matthew 7:15

Jesus said such people are under the influence of Satan.

“You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

–John 8:44

The Bible warns us:

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.”

–1 John 4:1

The Bible test of a prophet

The book of Deuteronomy, chapter 18, gives us a threefold test of a prophet.

1. The prophet must speak in the name of Yahweh, not another God.

2. The message of the prophet must be in accordance with – not in contradiction of – Scripture.

3. The prophet’s predictions must come true exactly as foretold.

“But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.’ And if you say in your heart, ‘How may we know the word that the Lord has not spoken?’— When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him.”

– Deuteronomy 18:20-22

Without naming names, there are some religious denominations out there whose leaders and/or prophets have made a number of prophecies, some including specific dates, that have failed to come to pass. By the text of Scripture itself, it is obvious that these denominations, their founding leaders, and their doctrines are false.