Monday, September 18, 2006

EXPOSING A FRAUD

The resemblance between Maggie Gallagher, a columnist who secretly took money as a paid shill for the Bush Administration, and a large toad is purely coincidental


(Following is a paraphrase of actual testimony given in a recent Lee County case in which Ms. Louisa Lasher was offered as an “expert witness” by the State on behalf of the Department of Family and Children Services in a legal proceeding to take custody of an infant from the parents.)


“Q. What college did you attend?
A. Purdue University.
Q. Where is that located?
A. West Lafayette, Indiana.
Q. What year did you graduate college?
A. I don’t recall, but I could look on my resume....
Q. M’am, please don’t look at the document in your hand. I would like to see if you can remember when you graduated college?

A. I’m not sure...
Q. What years did you attend?
A. 1960 to 1962, then I was on probation and had to leave.
Q Academic probation?
A. Yes.
Q. Can you tell me the decade in which you graduated?
A. I’m not sure. I think it was in the 2000’s. 2001, I think.
Q. Would you check your resume now and tell me the year you graduated.
A. Oh, it was 1984.

Q. M’am, on direct examination you testified that you received a Masters in Psychology from the Georgia School of Professional Psychology, is that correct?
A. Yes.
Q. And where is that located?
A. In a building on the north side of Atlanta.
Q. What was the subject of your Master’s thesis?
A. I didn’t have to do one.
Q. Can you name any of the professors who taught you at your school?
A. No, I can’t recall any.
Q. Did you have any particular professor who was your mentor or your advisor?
A. No.

Q. You testified that you have appeared as an expert witness several hundred times in Georgia courtrooms. Could you name one court in which you appeared, were qualified as an expert, and testified?
A. No.
Q. Not one?
A. No.”

At the end of this cross examination, which took over half an hour, the judge refused to allow the “expert” offered by the State to testify regarding an alleged rare psychological condition of mothers known as “Munchausen’s by Proxy Syndrome.” As the witness left the stand and walked past the counsel table, she audibly said to the defense lawyer “Congratulations, you won that one.”

A week later, the State’s lawyer casually mentioned to the defense lawyer that he knew he was in trouble when he saw the witness’ hair. With her frizzy, unkempt hair and frumpy sack dress over her rotund body, she was only a battered shopping cart away from resembling a typical bag lady.

In spite of her poor memory and lack of legitimate credentials, Ms. Lasher maintains a website in which she claims to be an expert and offers to testify for a price: http://www.mbpexpert.com. She also offers her book for sale, “ Munchausen by Proxy: Identification, Intervention, and Case Management.” The problem with that is when she was cross examined about her book, she couldn’t even name her editor. “Bob” was the best she could come up with, and he lives “somewhere on the West Coast” she recalled. Time after time, her only responses to questions were that she didn’t have her “lists” or other documents with her, so she couldn’t answer the question.

The judge who shooed her off the witness stand without allowing her to testify was gracious, but the question that has to be asked is how many times she has testified in cases and caused parents to lose their children as a result? And how many other frauds are out there masquerading as experts, collecting fees, and conducting forums and seminars?

This fraud was caught and sent scurrying from the courtroom before she could wreak irreparable damage to an infant child. What is more disturbing is that there has been a gradual erosion between fact and fiction, reporting and advertising, in our society as a whole. It’s hard to read the Albany Herald’s editorial page without thinking that they have decided to run their fiction contest as an every day feature, starring national “pundits” who are in reality paid lackeys of different corporations and think tanks with a point of view that is dictated by their masters.

In the 1990’s and early 2000’s, oil companies and coal companies paid “scientists” to try to muddy the waters on global warming. Rather than attacking the theory directly, they used their credentials (and the tens of thousands of dollars they received from the polluting companies) to challenge the statistics and argue that there wasn’t enough proof available to justify signing on to the Kyoto treaty or taking active measures to reduce the amount of carbon based fuels like gasoline and coal which are pumping huge amounts of Carbon Dioxide into the air. Last year I noted in a column that Dr. Robert Balling, Dr. Patrick Michaels, and Dr. Siegfried Frederick Singer were three “scientists” who for years publicly and strenously disagreed that global warming exists. They argued that any increase in temperatures was not caused by CO2 emissions from fossil fuels such as coal and oil- all while being paid hundreds of thousands of dollars by entities such as German and British coal companies, Exxon, Shell Oil, the Kuwait “Institute for Scientific Research,” and OPEC. By the late 1990’s, Balling had already received $300,000 and Michaels had pocketed $200,000 for their television appearances and op-ed columns intended to derail any attempts to deal with global warming.

In the wake of superkiller hurricane Katrina and the devastation it left behind- which reputable scientists have said would not have been nearly as bad had the Gulf of Mexico been only a degree or two cooler- those paid shills have skulked away into their ratholes, leaving the rest of the country to pay the tab for cleaning up a mess which might have been avoided if the nation had acted sooner to reduce CO2 emissions.

More recently, columnists like Rich Lowry and Jonah Goldberg of the National Review, regular “conservative” essayists featured in the Herald and syndicated nationally, appear to have been bought and paid for by America’s largest retailer, which is systematically fighting local governmental efforts to upgrade pay and benefits for its huge work force. It’s understood when Cal Thomas, Lowry, Goldberg, David Brooks, et al., carry water for the Bush Administration (we are winning the war in Iraq and democracy is just around the corner, don’t you know!), but when they start stumping for large American corporations, they have crossed the line into Maggie Gallagher and Armstrong Williams’ territory. As CNN reported in March of 2005:

“The Government Accountability Office plans to investigate payments from the Bush administration to syndicated columnist Maggie Gallagher, a GAO spokeswoman confirmed Monday. The congressional investigative agency will try to determine whether the Department of Heath and Human Services broke any laws when it paid Gallagher to help promote a marriage initiative, the spokeswoman said.

The GAO is already investigating a $240,000 contract with syndicated columnist/radio host Armstrong Williams from the Department of Education. Williams was being paid to promote the No Child Left Behind law.

Gallagher and Williams have apologized for not disclosing the payments to their readers.”

The sad truth is that lies and fraud pay, and apparently pay well if you are an intelligent college graduate with a modicum of writing ability and a willingness to prostitute yourself for a spot on an editorial page or a paid gig as an “expert,” whether it is on Munchausen’s syndrome, global warming, or winning the war on terror. Our only protection against these hypocrites and frauds is an active and free press. Sadly, Albany’s only daily newspaper has abdicated that responsibility, and its readers are the poorer for it.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Edward Matisoff said...

I found your article by performing a Google search on Louisa Lasher. I was executing this search to see if there was any information that would assist me in pursuing a fraud action against Ms. Lasher on behalf of my client. My client is a California resident who located Ms. Lasher on the Internet as an MBP expert. He paid her $2,000.00 in June of 2006 to do an MBP assessment. We never heard from her. She refused to respond to telephone, mail or e-mail inquiries. We have now demanded return of the $2,000.00 (almost 6 months later), but have not as yet been favored with a reply by Ms. Lasher. It would appear that her fraud may not be limited to fraud on the courts, but to consumer fraud as well.

Edward Matisoff
Attorney at Law

11:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow that's scary I just spoke with her and she said 300 dollars to complete phase 1 she lives in georgia I live in florida I guess we will have to pay her to come here and I would hate to do that just to have a judge say she could not testify, thank you for the heads up

4:16 PM  
Blogger trustngod - daily said...

Louisa Lasher has been called as an expert witness for MPB against my Sister-In-Law. Her youngest child has been in state custody for almost 6 months and the Guardian ad Litem has contracted this woman for the court hearing.

Would you have any information to further discredit her? I know it's been almost seven years but we're hoping that you have had similar contact with others. If you don't have any information perhaps you could steer us to other avenues?

Thank you so much!
Robyn Plantz

6:06 PM  
Blogger James Finkelstein (Ga.) said...

Sorry, but I don't have anything to add to the article- and yes, it's been about 7 years. First time in my career a judge refused to permit an "expert" to testify. Perhaps you should print this article and the comments and provide it to your attorney and/or the judge.

8:48 PM  
Blogger Mimi said...

In 2013, I was invited by Law School Professors at Michigan State University to chair a panel on child protection. My panel is this Saturday May 11th and is entitled 'The History of Child Protection in the Midwest, Promoting a Dialogue Between Providers and System Users' at The 44th Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature The Cultural Heritage of the Midwest: A Symposium. May 8–10, 2014 at Kellogg Conference Center at Michigan State University. For my panel, I have found your post on Ms. Lasher to be extremely valuable.

Louisa J. Lasher, one of the founding inventors of, and self-styled expert on Munchausen’s
by Proxy Syndrome, is indeed shown to be a fraud in your post. Through her "expert" testimony, she has been directly responsible for the permanent removal of hundreds of children from their families of origin and she is guilty too of the scarring result of the mother and child never seeing one another again. For this specious disorder, MBP, that she also wrote a book on, Louisa J. Lasher also is indirectly responsible for thousands of children across the globe being permanently removed. Due to Lasher's brainwashing of CPS workers and mental health workers whom have attended Lasher's workshops by the score on her invented diagnosis of MBP, the madness continues.

5:24 PM  

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