Famed Houston megachurch pastor and spiritual advisor to former president George W. Bush has been indicted for wire fraud and money laundering. According to ABC13 Houston, Pastor Kirbyjon Caldwell is accused by federal prosecutors of defrauding elderly and vulnerable investors of $3.5 million.
Pastor Caldwell and his business partner, Gregory Smith, are alleged to have sold millions of dollars in worthless Chinese bonds. The pair started selling the pre-revolutionary Chinese bonds in 2013 and continued promising investors hefty returns. Once investors were to be paid back, it is reported that Caldwell told them to “remain faithful and they would receive their money.”
The Houston news station obtained the indictment and second civil lawsuit filed against Caldwell and Smith by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The documents claim the bonds are worthless and that despite knowing this, frequent calls and promises were made to investors instead of paying them back.
Both men are facing up to 20 years in prison on the wire fraud counts and 10 years for the money laundering counts. Caldwell is set to turn himself into authorities within the next ten days. Caldwell will have to pay back millions and may forfeit his multimillion-dollar mansion in Houston, which he may have paid for using the alleged investment money.
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Christina Santi is a news and culture writer for EBONY.com. Born and raised in the Bronx, New York, she considers herself a well-read, not so traditional feminist with a heavy interest in music, fashion and pop culture. Christina currently lives in New York City, where she refers to her Cuban & Jamaican descent often while writing about her experiences as a first-generation Afro-Latinx in America. She also devotes time writing personalized reading material for her tutees and turning ideas into words for streetwear brand, PUER By Noel Bronson.