• Houston Pastor With Ties To Former Presidents Faces Numerous Fraud-Related Charges

    A well-known and respected Houston megachurch pastor who has worked with several presidents and top executives has been charged with selling investors over $1 million in useless Chinese bonds and using the money for himself.

    Kirbyjon Caldwell is the Windsor Village United Methodist Church senior pastor and is currently facing charges of money laundering and wire fraud in connection with the sale of historical bonds mostly to older investors.

    According to U.S. Attorney Alexander C. Van Hook, the bonds had been issued before 1949 by the former Republic of China. In 1949, communists won the civil water and gained power. The present Chinese government doesn’t recognize them, and there is no investment value.

    Caldwell’s lawyer, Dan Cogdell, said Caldwell had no idea the bonds were no good and even invested money of his into it. Cogdell said his client is innocent of the charges, believing the bonds were legit.

    Caldwell was an advisor to several former presidents such as George W. Bush. He’s also a restricted partner in the Houston Texans football team and is a board member of the NRG Energy.

    A federal grand jury in Shreveport charged both the pastor 55-year-old Gregory Alan Smith who is the manager and operator of Smith Financial Group in Shreveport in the 13-count indictment.

    The U.S. Attorney’s office has not arraigned either man.

    In 2010, The Financial Industry Regulatory Authorities had banned Smith from doing any broker-dealer dealings.

    According to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the men had raised $3.4 million from nearly 30 older investors with the promise of high returns. The SEC alleges they used $1.8 million of that money for personal gains.

    SEC Miami Regional Office Director Eric Bustillo said Caldwell and Smith broke their clients’ trust even after encouraging them to stay realistic and stealing from their clients.