Texas megachurch pastor sentenced to six years in prison for fraud

Crime

HOUSTON (KETK/AP) – A Texas megachurch pastor who has also served as spiritual advisor for two U.S. presidents was sentenced to six years in prison on Wednesday. He had pleaded guilty to stealing millions of dollars from investors.

Kirbyjon H. Caldwell, 67, was sentenced Wednesday in Shreveport after pleading guilty back in March. He was the senior pastor for Windsor Village United Methodist Church.

He was the spiritual adviser for Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

According to federal prosecutors, Caldwell and co-defendant Gregory Smith, a Shreveport-based investment adviser, used their clout 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 lost power to the communist government in 1949. The bonds aren’t recognized by China’s current government and have no investment value.

“[Caldwell] used his status as the pastor of a mega-church to help convince the many victim investors that they were making a legitimate investment, but instead he took their hard-earned money from them and used it for his own personal gain.”

Acting U.S. Attorney Alexander Van Hook

The indictment showed that he used nearly one million dollars to pay down credit card and mortgage debt as well as to finance his luxurious lifestyle.

In a video posted on Facebook, Floyd LeBlanc, chairman of the Windsor Village Church Family Personnel Committee, said Caldwell has taken full responsibility and paid full restitution to all the victims.

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