Prominent Pastor Defrauds Elderly Investors
Late March, 2018, the Securities and Exchange Commission charges Kirbyjon Caldwell, Senior Pastor at Windsor Village United Methodist Church in Houston, Texas, in a scheme that defrauds elderly investors by selling them interests in invalid, pre-revolutionary Chinese bonds. Caldwell and longtime friend Gregory Alan Smith perpetrate the multi-million dollar fraud scheme. Oddly, Smith is a self-appointed financial planner who FINRA barred from the broker-dealer industry since 2010.
Taking the path of least resistance, Caldwell and Smith set their sights on exploiting vulnerable and elderly investors. The culprits knew full well the Chinese bonds were nothing more than collectible memorabilia with zero investment value. Nonetheless, they provide false assurances to their elderly clients, claiming the bonds are worth millions of dollars. In doing so, Caldwell and Smith raise approximately $3.4 million from 29 mostly elderly investors. Sadly, several of the investors liquidate their annuities to invest in the rip-off. Instead of investing the money, Caldwell and Smith engage in a $1.8 million spending spree. Personal expenses include mortgage payments and luxury vehicles. Interestingly, beneficiaries of the remaining funds include offshore individuals.