SHREVEPORT, Louisiana - Former Houston megachurch pastor Kirbyjon Caldwell has been sentenced to prison for conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
Caldwell, 67, will have to serve six years in prison followed by one year of supervised release for the scheme.
According to a release on Wednesday, Caldwell was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $3,588,500, as well as a fine of $125,000.
Caldwell and co-defendant Gregory Smith sold unknowing investors historical Chinese bonds, which in reality held no value.
In fact, the bonds were considered by the Securities and Exchange Commission to be mere collectibles.
"The defendants in this case abused the trust that the victims had placed in them," stated Acting U.S. Attorney Van Hook. "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. This office will continue to investigate and prosecute those who scheme and prey upon the elderly and others."
Caldwell, the former senior pastor of Windsor Village United Methodist Church, personally received approximately $900,000.
While the victim-investors never received returns from these Chinese bonds.
Caldwell was ordered to report to the Bureau of Prisons on June 22.