It’s difficult to imagine that the 44th President of the United States would align himself with someone who has no basis for his mentorship or words of advice on how to effectively deal with situations. But that’s exactly what happened to President Obama back in 2018. Megachurch pastor, Kirbyjon H. Caldwell, has met his fate in recent days by being exposed as a fraud. In essence, Caldwell tricked his investors in his “house of worship” by encouraging them to buy useless Chinese bonds that had significant history, or so they thought. As a result, the ongoing practices by Caldwell benefitted him immensely, while scheming the funds out of devoted churchgoers. And this is a man who offered his spiritual advisement to both former presidents, Barack Obama, and George W. Bush. Now, Caldwell’s case has been brought to the surface and he’s facing a hard time in a Shreveport, Louisiana prison.
The charges were actually brought up in 2018, however with extensive investigations and naming Caldwell’s co-defendant in the mastermind scheme, Gregory A. Smith, both men are due to report to prison in June 2022, and in so doing, they’ll spend six years in a federal penitentiary before being released and supervised for an entire year. Caldwell’s career was on a high as the senior pastor for the Windsor Village United Methodist Church in Houston. Although there were around 14,000 members affiliated with the church, Caldwell and his cohort Smith extorted millions of dollars from the church members who were gullible enough to believe his advice. The Chinese bonds in question, as Caldwell framed it, were supposedly issued by the former Republic of China that was overthrown by their communist government in 1949. This type of history became alluring to churchgoing investors, and as a result, the bonds that Caldwell was selling had no investment value whatsoever. He scammed his members into believing it would add a great deal of money into their pockets.
That’s when the Securities and Exchange Commission intervened and let the investors in on Caldwell and Smith’s scam, by showing that the Chinese bonds were nothing more than collectibles versus a solid investment. However, the two men pressed on and continued to sell the bonds to the eager church members. Caldwell and Smith basically used their positions of power to prey on the elderly for their own personal gains. As a graduate of the Wharton School of Business, the senior pastor Caldwell knew how to weave the right words and business methodology to create this scam, all the while allowing church members to believe that their money was being put to good use. These types of investments by these types of people in today’s society are why trusting your hard-earned dollars to church pastors might need a serious dose of scrutiny. Caldwell and Smith are headed to prison, and no amount of inward spiritual soul searching can relieve them of the crimes they’ve committed.