Updated April 2, 2018, 12:30 p.m., EDT
Houston megachurch Pastor Kirbyjohn Caldwell, who stands accused of defrauding investors, plans to turn himself in to federal authorities, ABC News reported on Monday.
Caldwell’s attorney, Dan Cogdell, is arranging a surrender date. The minister is expected to go before a magistrate judge in Louisiana for arraignment. At that time Cogdell will seek a bond, which the attorney believes the government will grant.
At Easter Sunday service, Caldwell told his congregation that he’s not guilty, describing his situation as a “painful pit stop” along the way to the Promised Land, according to KHOU11 reported.
Pastor Kirbyjohn Caldwell leads more than 14,000 members at the Windsor Village United Methodist Church in Houston, Texas. He was one of President George W. Bush‘s spiritual advisers and he officiated Jenna Bush‘s wedding. Allegedly, he is a fraud who has been stealing from the elderly.
According to ABC 13 in Houston, Texas, Pastor Caldwell and his investment adviser Gregory Smith sold Chinese bonds to the “vulnerable and the elderly.” Caldwell allegedly used his influence as a pastor and Smith used his status as operator of Smith Financial Group in Shreveport, Louisiana, to get investors to pay more than a million dollars for Chinese bonds. Chinese bonds were valuable in the 1940’s, but clearly not valuable now. Court papers say they allegedly sold nearly $3.5 million worth that aren’t worth anything. The pastor “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.'”
Caldwin and Smith “face years in federal prison and could be made to pay back millions and forfeit a home the pastor owns in Houston.” Allegedly, he used money from the scam to pay the mortgage on the glamorous house. The charges for Caldwell include federal indictments for wire fraud, money laundering among other charges of corruption. The pastor tried to explain himself to ABC 13, see below.
Good try, but the so-called pastor appears to be obsessed with money. In 2004, he wrote the book Entrepreneurial Faith: Launching Bold Initiatives to Expand God’s Kingdom, described as “entrepreneurship, they concede, is often associated with money-fixated ‘wheeler-dealers,’ but they argue that its true meaning lies in finding opportunities and taking risks for the sake of a vision that others haven’t yet seen.” Sounds like Caldwin was the ultimate “wheeler-dealer.” Plus, watch him discuss his ministry below. He had the audacity to say, “Our budget for the entire year, at that time, equals the amount that we take up at most eight o’clock services now.” How much of that “budget” went into his pocket?