A prominent Houston megachurch pastor who counseled presidents and top executives was charged on Friday with selling investors more than $1 million in worthless Chinese bonds and using proceeds for his own benefit, federal authorities said.
Kirbyjon Caldwell, 64, senior pastor at the Windsor Village United Methodist Church in Houston, one of the nation’s largest Protestant churches with about 17,000 members, faces wire fraud and money laundering charges in connection with the sale of historical bonds to mostly elderly investors.
The bonds were issued by the former Republic of China before 1949 – when the communists won that country’s civil war and took power – are not recognized by the current Chinese government and have no investment value, said U.S. Attorney Alexander C. Van Hook in Shreveport, Louisiana.
Caldwell’s attorney said his client was unaware the bonds were worthless and had invested his own money.
“He’s 100 percent, absolutely not guilty of these charges,” Caldwell’s attorney, Dan Cogdell, said in a broadcast interview. “He was the biggest investor in these bonds; he completely believed these bonds were legitimate.”
Caldwell has been an adviser to former presidents, including George W. Bush, is a limited partner in the Houston Texans professional football team, and serves on the board of NRG Energy.
Click here to read more.