A Texas megachurch pastor and former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush’s former spiritual adviser has just been sentenced to six years in prison for scamming investors out of millions of dollars.
According to the Associated Press, Kirbyjon H. Caldwell was sentenced on Wednesday in Shreveport, Louisiana, where he and his co-defendant, Gregory A. Smith, were indicted in 2018.
Back in March, Caldwell had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
According to federal prosecutors, Caldwell and Smith had used their influence to persuade people to invest about $3.5 million in historical Chinese bonds.
Acting US Attorney Alexander Van Hook said in a statement that 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.”
According to the Justice Department, Caldwell had used around $900,000 from the money he received to maintain his lifestyle and pay for credit cards and mortgages.
In November, Smith was also sentenced to six years in prison.
The following was the church’s full statement on Caldwell’s sentencing:
According to the Windsor Village Church Family Personnel Committee, Floyd LeBlanc, Caldwell has taken full responsibility and paid back all the victims in full.
LeBlanc also said that Caldwell remained active within the church during his case, including virtual ministry and weekly food distributions to families during the pandemic.
“Mr. Caldwell has apologized and asked forgiveness from the people harmed in this matter,” LeBlanc said.
LeBlanc also described Caldwell as a victim for choosing the wrong business partners.
“We’re very disappointed that Mr. Caldwell’s contributions to society and his extraordinary efforts to make every victim whole resulted in a sentence that is disappointing,” LeBlanc said.