Gary Gauthier, the former host of “It’s God’s Money,” a Saturday morning Christian radio show on Salem’s Religious WTBN-AM and Talk WGUL-AM, is one of two men arrested this month in a Ponzi scheme that defrauded 38 people in the Tampa Bay area of $6 million, according to The St. Petersburg Tribune.
The scheme occurred from 4/20/05, through 8/15/13, with the men soliciting people in Pasco, Pinellas and Hillsborough counties. On his radio shows, Gauthier provided a telephone number listeners could call so he could meet them at their homes, a restaurant or in Dreslin’s office, the documents state.
The people were encouraged to invest tens of thousands of dollars in various real estate development projects, the documents say. They were told they would see a return of 8%-40% in a relatively short period, the documents state.
But in most cases they saw no return on their investment, and “as a result, victims have lost their homes and many have lost their entire retirement,” the documents say.
“Gauthier and Dreslin convinced them to liquidate their annuities, cash out their retirement accounts and, in some instances, to take cash out of the equity of their homes to invest in various pre-construction or existing real estate ventures,” the charging document states.
Gauthier, 64, who now lives in Michigan, was arrested last week in Tampa, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. David George Dreslin, 54, of Seminole, was arrested earlier in the month.
The two are charged with one count of racketeering, one count of conspiring 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, the story said.
Dreslin attracted people through his accounting practice, and Gauthier’s victims were the listeners of his Tampa radio shows, “It’s God’s Money” and “It’s All About Florida Real Estate,” the documents say.
“A majority of the victims stated they relied upon the statements made by Gauthier because they were made on a Christian radio station,” according to the document charging the pair. “Most of the victims were elderly…over the age of 60.”