Kirbyjon Caldwell, who led Windsor Village United Methodist Church, was sentenced to six years in prison followed by one year of supervised release for conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
Caldwell stood before judge Chief Judge S. Maurice Hicks Jr. on Wednesday (January 13) and was sentenced to the term. He pled guilty in March of 2020 and his sentence is set to begin in June of this year.
He expressed profound remorse and accepted full responsibility for his actions in court and although he was ordered to pay $3,588,500 restitution as well as a fine of $125,000, Caldwell has reportedly paid the restitution ahead of his prison sentence. The restitution period had begun prior to his indictment in May 2018.
“The defendants in this case abused the trust that the victims had placed in them,” Acting United States Attorney Alexander Van Hook said in a statement. “This defendant used his status as the pastor of a megachurch 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 and co-defendant Gregory Alan Smith had duped investors of in an investment of historical Chinese bonds. The two however failed to inform potential investors the bonds were worthless. The Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) has considered Chinese bonds to be collectibles with no value other than in regards to memorabilia. The pastor received approximately $900,000 in the deal, using the money to pay down debts including personal loans, mortgages, and credit cards as well as maintain his lifestyle.
Investors never received returns for the Chinese bonds as the scheme reportedly brought in $3.5 million 2013 and 2014. Smith was also convicted and will spend six years behind bars.