Kirbyjon H Caldwell, a Texas megachurch pastor who served as a spiritual adviser to two United States presidents George W Bush and Barack Obama, has been sentenced to six years in prison for defrauding investors of millions of dollars.
According to reports, US District Judge S.Maurice Hicks sentenced Pastor Caldwell to six years in federal prison for his role in a multi-million-dollar scheme that duped several victims to invest nearly $3.5 million in Chinese bonds.
The 67-year-old pastor Kirbyjon H Caldwell was sentenced by United States District Judge S Maurice Hicks to six years in prison followed by 1 year of supervised release for conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Caldwell was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $3,588,500, as well as a fine of $125,000.
Caldwell was formerly the Senior Pastor of Windsor Village United Methodist Church, a mega-church in his native Houston, Texas, which has around 14,000 members.
Pastor sold Chinese bonds to followers that were lapsed in 1949
The federal prosecutors alleged that Caldwell and Gregory Alam Smith, a Shreveport-based investment adviser, used their power and influence to persuade people to invest about $3.5 million in historical Chinese bonds. The bonds were reportedly issued by the former Republic of China that had lost power to the communist government in 1949. The bonds are not recognized by China’s current government and have no investment value.
From 2013 and 2014, the accused made $3.5 million from the scheme. The profits were then divided between Caldwell, Smith, and others.
According to the Justice Department, Caldwell used about $900,000 he received from the scheme to maintain his lifestyle and pay credit card dues and mortgages. According to the US Securities and Exchange Commission, these bonds are collectables with no value outside the memorabilia market, prosecutors said.
Pastor Caldwell had endorsed Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential run and was part of a group of Christian pastors who would pray with him. He was also part of the healthy fatherhood and family task force set up by Obama. The influential Pastor had also spoken at the 2000 Republican National Convention, delivered the benediction at Bush’s 2005 inauguration, and officiated his daughter Jenna’s wedding in 2008.