David J. Phillip | AP
President George W. Bush, left, shares a laugh with Pastor Kirbyjon Caldwell as they are introduced during a fundraiser for the Power Center, a huge multi-use complex in southwest Houston, which is usually celebrating its’ 10th anniversary Friday, Sept. 12, 2003.
The U.S. Department of Justice announced March 29 that will a well-known pastor of a Houston megachurch has been indicted on fraud charges.
Kirbyjon H. Caldwell, 64, is usually the senior pastor at Windsor Village United Methodist Church, which he has led since 1982, according to the church’s website. Caldwell also became a spiritual advisor to former President George W. Bush while Bush was governor of Texas, the Houston Chronicle reports. He’s also is usually a limited partner of the Houston Texans, has been an independent director of NRG Energy Inc. (NYSE: NRG) since 2009 along with serves on the board of trustees of Baylor College of Medicine, per the Chronicle.
Caldwell along with Gregory Alan Smith, 55, of Shreveport, Louisiana, were charged with 13 counts related to wire fraud along with money laundering, according to a press Discharge through the DOJ.
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“According to the indictment, Smith used his influence along with status as the operator along with manager of Smith Financial Group LLC in Shreveport, along with Caldwell used his influence along with status as pastor at a prominent Houston church to lure investors to pay more than $1 million to invest in Historical Chinese bonds,” the press Discharge states. “These bonds were issued by the former Republic of China prior to losing power to the communist government in 1949.”
As such, China’s current government does not recognize the bonds, which therefore have no investment value, per the Discharge. However, the indictment alleges Smith along with Caldwell promised high rates of return.
“Instead of investing the funds, the defendants used them to pay personal loans, credit card balances, mortgages, vehicle purchases along with various other personal expenses,” the Discharge states.
The defendants each face up to 20 years in prison for the wire fraud-related counts along with up to 10 years for the money laundering-related counts, as well as a $1 million fine, restitution, forfeiture along with several years of supervised Discharge.
According to KTRK ABC13, Dan Cogdell, Caldwell’s attorney, released a statement saying: “Pastor Kirbyjon Caldwell is usually a religious leader who has been falsely accused. He trusts the legal process completely however most importantly his faith. He will be absolved. We look forward to trying This particular case within the court of law.”
Cogdell is usually likely to hold a press conference at 10:30 a.m. March 30, according to Click2Houston.com.