Texas Megachurch Pastor Sentenced for Wire Fraud
Wire fraud is a complicated legal charge that the State of Texas and the federal government take exceptionally seriously. Further, no one is beyond the law’s reach on the matter, as an unfolding Texas case involving a Megachurch pastor illustrates.
The Case at Hand
ABC Eyewitness News shares that the pastor in this case and his investment advisor sold millions of pre-revolutionary Chinese bonds to vulnerable investors, including elderly parishioners, that were actually worthless (other than as historical memorabilia). The fraud scheme, in other words, involved duping the unsuspecting consumers into purchasing items of negligible value in a transaction that amounted to nearly 100 percent profit for the sellers. The Shreveport Times relays that these bonds were originally issued by the pre-communist Chinese government and that they are not recognized as a financial tool by the current government. The fraud scheme began in 2013, and those involved were indicted in 2018.
The pastor, Kirbyjon Caldwell, presided over the Windsor Village United Methodist Church, which is located in Houston and is one of the largest protestant churches in the United States. The church itself relays that full restitution to all of those defrauded in the scheme had been accomplished before the pastor’s sentencing, and the church embraces his fulsome apology. At 68, Caldwell is known as a prominent community leader in the State of Texas and the nation at large.
The pastor’s sentence for conspiracy to commit wire fraud was handed down on January 13, and it includes:
Six years in a federal prison
One year of supervised release (following prison)
Restitution of $3,588,500
A fine of $125,000
Reportedly, the pastor’s attorneys argued for home confinement as a means of accommodating his ongoing prostate cancer treatments, his hypertension, and the continuing threat of COVID-19 (especially for inmates with underlying health conditions). The Windsor Village United Methodist Church is now led by Kirbyjon Caldwell’s wife, pastor Suzette Caldwell.
White Collar Crimes Are Serious Crimes
Non-violent crimes involving fraud, embezzlement, theft, tax evasion, and other forms of financial wrongdoing are known as white collar crimes. These crimes, however, often lead to federal charges that carry steep fines and punishments and can lead to years behind bars.
Do Not Wait to Consult with an Experienced Killeen Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are facing a charge for a white-collar crime like wire fraud, embezzlement, or any other financial wrongdoing, you are facing potential consequences that can upend your future in surprisingly negative ways. Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard – proudly serving Killeen, Texas for many years – is a trusted criminal defense attorney who dedicates his practice to skillfully defending the rights of clients like you. Our dedicated legal team has the expansive experience, legal insight, and fortitude to help you obtain your case’s most favorable resolution. For more information about how we can help you, please do not hesitate to contact or call us at 254-501-4040 today.