On Wednesday, Kirbyjon Caldwell, senior pastor at Windsor Village United Methodist Church pled guilty to a charge of committing wire fraud.
Caldwell, as well as another man, investment advisor Gregory Smith, were allegedly involved in a scheme where the two sold nearly $3.5 million in worthless pre-revolutionary Chinese bonds to elderly individuals as well as vulnerable investors. The bonds are not recognized by the Chinese government. In March 2018, the two were indicted on numerous charges including committing wire fraud, money laundering and more.
Smith pled guilty to a charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud last July and will be sentenced on May 4th. Smith’s guilty plea came days after Caldwell announced that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer.
“These defendants used their positions as religious leaders and investment advisors to defraud Louisiana residents – many of whom are elderly and retired,” U.S. Attorney David Joseph said in a news release on Wednesday.
“In doing so, the defendants abused the trust and respect of their victims for the sole purpose of stealing their money. This type of deceit can be devastating for victims, especially when life savings are lost.