Spiritual advisor to Barack Obama and George W. Bush sentenced to 6 years for multi-million dollar China bonds fraud
- The spiritual advisor for both
Barack Obamaand George W. Bushduring their time as President has been sentenced to six years for his role in a multi-million dollar investment fraudscheme.
- Kirbyjon H. Caldwell, 67, was sentenced by US District Judge S. Maurice Hicks on Wednesday in Shreveport, Louisiana, where he and his co-defendant, Gregory Alan Smith, were indicted in 2018.
- He spoke at the 2000 Republican National Convention, delivered the benediction at Bush's 2005 inauguration, and officiated his daughter Jenna's 2008 wedding, the New York Times reported
The spiritual advisor for both Barack Obama and George W. Bush during their time as President has been sentenced to six years for his role in a multi-million dollar investment fraud scheme.
Kirbyjon H. Caldwell, 67, was sentenced by US District Judge S. Maurice Hicks on Wednesday in Shreveport, Louisiana where he and his co-defendant, Gregory Alan Smith, were indicted in 2018.Caldwell was formerly the Senior Pastor of Windsor Village United Methodist Church, a mega-church in his native
Caldwell supported Obama's 2008 presidential run and was part of a group of Christian pastors who would pray with him as well as being on his healthy fatherhood and family task force, the NYT added.Through Smith, a 55-year-old, Shreveport-based investment advisor, he began using his influence to persuade people to invest in historical Chinese bonds in early 2013, the Associated Press added.
They were told that they would gain partial bond ownership and would very quickly receive large returns on their investments.Additionally, they were given "participation agreements" which said if the sale failed then their funds would be returned within a certain period of time, and were told to wire funds into one of the many bank accounts he owned or control. Read More: Celebrity church Hillsong faces new accusations of racism, exploitation, and discrimination after NYC pastor Carl Lentz was fired for infidelity
However, the bonds were historical Chinese ones, issued by the former Republic of China before it lost power to the communist government in 1949.
The bonds aren't recognized by China's current government and have no investment value whatsoever. In fact, they are considered to be collectibles by the Securities and Exchange Commission.Between 2013 and 2014, they made $3.5 million from the scheme. The profits were divided between Caldwell, Smith, and others. The former pastor received $900,000 which he used to maintain his lifestyle and pay down credit cards and mortgages.
In a statement provided by the Department of Justice, Acting US Attorney Alexander C. Van Hook said: "The defendants in this case abused the trust that the victims had placed in them."
"This defendant 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," he continued.Caldwell was ordered to report to the Bureau of Prisons on June 22, 2021, for conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
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