Photo: DAVID J. PHILLIP, STF / AP
A prominent Houston pastor and spiritual adviser to President George W. Bush was charged with federal allegations of selling millions of dollars in worthless property Chinese bonds to older and vulnerable investors, according to federal agencies.
Kirbyjon H. Caldwell, 64, and Shreveport financial planner Gregory Alan Smith, 55, were charged with 13 counts of conspiracy, wire fraud, and money laundering. 19659019] Caldwell is accused of using his position as senior United Methodist Church pastor in Windsor Village to attract nearly $ 3.5 million worth of investment in historic Chinese bonds that are not recognized by the Chinese government. He and Smith told investors that, according to the indictment, they could see income equal to 15 times their original investment.
The lawsuits filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission accuse the men of cheating 29 investors between April 2013 and August 2014 for the bonds described in the indictment as "mere collective memorabilia".
"These bonds were issued by the former Republic of China before they lost power to the Communist government in 1949," US Attorney Alexander C said. Van Hook in Shreveport said in a press release. "They are not recognized by China's current government and have no investment value."
Attempts to reach Caldwell Thursday were unsuccessful, and no lawyer was listed for him in federal court records. Church representatives did not respond to a request for comment.
Caldwell, a native of Houston, developed a friendship with then-Texas Governor George W. Bush, who continued Bush's presidency. He blessed Bush's inauguration as President and conducted the wedding for Bush's daughter Jenna in Crawford, Central Texas.
Caldwell is a Houston-based Texan limited partner and independent director of NRG Energy since 2009. He is also a member of the Board of Trustees of Baylor College of Medicine and was formerly the director of Reliant Energy and Continental Holdings. He is a former board member of Southern Methodist University in Dallas.
Under Caldwell's leadership of 1982, the Windsor Village Church expanded its membership from 25 to more than 16,000, making it one of the largest Protestant churches in the country, according to the Church's website. He worked on the creation of the so-called Power Center to offer charitable services.
Caldwell was co-author of a 1999 book The Gospel of Good Success . His work has been linked to the creation of the White House Faith-Based and Community Initiatives Office under Bush.
Smith is the operator and manager of the Smith Financial Group in Shreveport, prosecutors say. In 2010, according to the indictment, he was permanently excluded from affiliation to members of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority after being caught in misappropriation of investor funds.
& lulling emails & # 39;
Caldwell and his Wyoming LDT are accused of putting nearly $ 2 million into the Chinese bond system. Smith received $ 1 million and "offshore thirds, at least one in Mexico" received most of the remainder, according to the indictment.
Caldwell sometimes used the alias "Turner Hines" when talking to investors, and told a person who had invested about $ 800,000 who was accused of gold or silver.
The two men continued to tell investors that they would get paid, according to the prosecution, and in 2014 sent "luling emails" in which they said the bonds. He was not because of currency exchange or problems with the International Monetary Fund or the World Bank sold.
"Although these seemed plausible to some investors, they actually had no basis," the indictment said.
None of the investors They received the money they had been promised, and most, according to the indictment, did not even recoup the value of their investment.
If convicted, the men could face up to 20 years in jail for conspiracy to communicate, conduct fraud counts and fraud counts, and up to 10 years in prison for money laundering and money laundering conspiracy.
You could also pay $ 1 million each.