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Don't Always Believe What You Hear, Even If It Comes From a Christian Radio Show

Two men are arrested in Tampa after defrauding 38 people of $6 million. One of the men was the former host of a Saturday morning Christian radio show called "It's God's Money," and the other was an accountant. Both men attracted their victims through their lines of work.

Gary L. Gauthier used to be the host of a morning Christian radio show that attracted a large number of listeners. He was also the host of another Tampa radio show titled, "It's All About Florida Real Estate." It is now alleged that Gauthier used these two radio shows from April 2005 through August 2013 to lure victims into his Ponzi scheme.

Ponzi schemes are investment fraud that pays existing investors with funds contributed by new investors, rather than with returns from investments. Gauthier would go on the air and encourage his listeners to invest tens of thousands of dollars in various real estate development projects. He would then have someone else come on the air and recommend the investment. Gauthier would provide telephone numbers that listeners could call to set up a meeting either at their convenience or Dreslin's office. Listeners were being told that they would see a return of 8 percent to 40 percent in a relatively short period. In most cases the investors never saw any return because the two men had created these fake development projects.

One victim was persuaded to deposit her $86,000 IRA in a company set up by the two men and has not received anything back. She is currently suing them to get her money back. Most of the victims were elderly and relied on Gauthier's statements because they were made on a Christian radio station.

The two men have been charged with one count of racketeering, one count of conspiracy to engage in a pattern of racketeering activity, two counts of organized fraud, six counts of the sale of an unregistered security, six counts of the sale of a security by an unregistered dealer, and two counts of security fraud.

Source:

The St. Petersburg Tribune, Former Christian radio host charged in Ponzi Scheme, Stephen Thompson, 1/31/14

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