Houston megachurch pastor Kirbyjon Caldwell indicted for wire fraud and money laundering

Friday, March 30, 2018
Pastor Kirbyjon Caldwell indicted for wire fraud
An alleged $3.5 million Chinese bond scheme has led to the indictment of prominent megachurch pastor Kirbyjon Caldwell.

SHREVEPORT, Louisiana (KTRK) -- The allegations against Pastor Kirbyjon Caldwell are disturbing. Federal prosecutors alleging the long-time pastor bilked millions from elderly and vulnerable investors.

None of the money was ever paid back. Now he and a business partner could be headed for prison in a scheme that seems too good to believe.

In the 1940's, the Chinese government offered bonds for sale.

Back then they might have been worth something, but by 2013, the communists were firmly in control of China and the bonds were worthless.

CLICK HERE: Read full indictment against Kirbyjon Caldwell

But federal prosecutors allege that didn't stop Pastor Caldwell and investment adviser Gregory Smith from offering investors quick and impressive returns on pre-revolutionary Chinese bonds starting in 2013 and continuing for years.

They allegedly sold nearly $3.5 million worth. Court papers suggest they aren't worth anything.

An indictment and second civil lawsuit filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission allege the pair never paid any investor back, but kept them on the hook with frequent investor calls and promises of pay back.

According to court filings, Caldwell encouraged investors to "remain faithful and that they would receive their money. Caldwell also used religious references to give investors hope they would soon be repaid."

Both men face years in federal prison and could be made to pay back millions and forfeit a home the pastor owns in Houston.

Court filings suggest he used money from the alleged investment scheme to pay the mortgage on it.

RELATED: Who is Kirbyjon Caldwell? Reach felt across Houston

WHO IS KIRBYJON CALDWELL? News of the pastor's indictment is sure to reverberate through Houston and even the country.

Caldwell once served as one of President George W. Bush's spiritual advisors. He is currently listed as a limited partner with the Houston Texans.

The Texans released the following statement, "We have recently been made aware of a report involving Kirbyjon Caldwell. We are gathering more information and will have no further comment at this time."

Sources told Eyewitness News that Caldwell is working with authorities to surrender in Louisiana within next week to 10 days.

WATCH: Details about Pastor Kirbyjon Caldwell's indictment

Houston megachurch pastor Kirbyjon Caldwell indicted for wire fraud and money laundering, Ted Oberg has more.