Houston megachurch pastor Kirbyjon Caldwell has been sentenced to six years in prison after pleading guilty to wire fraud and defrauding investors.
Caldwell was indicted on the charges two years ago.
Court papers show the pastor and his investment advisor sold nearly $3.5 million in worthless pre-revolutionary Chinese bonds to the elderly and other vulnerable investors.
Since pleading guilty last year, Caldwell has paid back nearly all the money to investors. Caldwell was the pastor of the Windsor Village United Methodist Church and was a spiritual adviser to presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush.
"I don’t have any problems at all with Biblical prosperity, because it’s not the kind of prosperity that gives God a bad name," Caldwell told Houstonia Magazine in 2016. "It glorifies the Lord, and helps the least, the last and the lost — and helps improve the quality of community. Money intrinsically does not have a personality. It’s people who give money its personality and reputation, simply by what they do with it."
Windsor Village issued the following statement following Caldwell's sentencing:
Today, our visionary leader, Kirbyjon Caldwell, personally appeared in the courtroom of Chief Judge S. Maurice Hicks Jr. in Shreveport, Louisiana, and was sentenced. Caldwell pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud on March 11, 2020. He was indicted on March 29, 2018.
During today's hearing, Caldwell expressed his profound remorse and accepted full responsibility for his actions. The court found that Caldwell made full restitution to all of the victims. Notably, restitution began prior to indictment and was completed before sentencing. Many victims were paid over and above the amount that they invested. Voluntary restitution is virtually unheard of and extremely rare in these kinds of cases.
Lay Preacher Caldwell, who is no longer an ordained elder in the Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, never stopped serving the community. As a direct result of this servant leadership, 980 part-time and full-time jobs were created; 258 acres of land have been developed and more than $168 million in economic value has been added to our community, a historically underserved community. These contributions include 462 homes, a YMCA, nationally known franchise restaurants, health care providers, an independent senior living facility and Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program, to name a few.
Caldwell has expressed his deep remorse and has apologized on numerous occasions. According to Floyd LeBlanc, Chairman of The Windsor Village Church Family Personnel Committee, The Windsor Village Lay Leadership has acknowledged Caldwell's full restitution and accepted his apology. We look forward to more lives being changed and more destinies being shaped as The Windsor Village Church Family continues to fulfill its God-given mission, in Jesus's Name, said LeBlanc. The Kingdom Building continues!
This article originally ran on our news partner ABC13.