Kirbyjon Caldwell and his partner defrauded elderly investors out of millions.
A Federal grand jury indicted Houston megachurch pastor Kirbyjon Caldwell with crimes of defrauding investors of an excess of one million dollars. The indictment consisted of a total of 13 counts. Other than Caldwell, Gregory Alan Smith, a financial planner from Louisiana, was also charged with money laundering and wire fraud conspiracies. Caldwell was once a spiritual advisor to the former U.S. President, George W. Bush.
Caldwell holds the position of pastor at the Windsor Village United Methodist Church. The megachurch has approximately 14,000 congregants.
As per the indictment, the 64-year-old Caldwell took advantage of his influence as the pastor of the prominent Houston church to lure vulnerable and elderly investors to the tune of approximately $3.5 million. He was helped in his criminal activities by the 55-year-old Smith. The latter used his position of manager and operator of Shreveport based Smith Financial Group LLC. The two sold Historical Chinese bonds which are not recognized by the current Chinese Government. The issuer of these bonds was the pre-1949 Republic of China Government. These are for all practical purposes worthless investments.
So sad to hear about Pastor Kirbyjon Caldwell. Prayers for him, his family, and Windsor Village ??
— ryancgeorge (@ryangHTX) March 30, 2018
As per the indictment, both Caldwell and Smith did not pay back investors their money but kept them at bay with numerous payback promises. They promised super high return rates and used the money for personal loans, mortgages, and credit card balances among others. The high rates of return were part of the lure. Investors were promised a mind-boggling 15 times the original investment amount. If convicted, both men face considerable time behind federal prison bars. They will also be compelled to return millions and more as compensation. The pastor may lose his Houston home.
As per the court filings, Caldwell misused money from this fraudulent investment scheme to finance his mortgage. The senior pastor continues to be a limited partner with Houston Texans. The latter is investigating the allegations. Both the accused could spend a total of 20 years in prison with imposed fines at more than one million dollars.
Dan Cogdell, the defense attorney representing Caldwell, issued a statement saying his client has been falsely accused. The lawyer described his client as a religious leader who has complete trust in not only the legal processes but also his faith. The attorney expressed confidence that his client will be set free.