Back in 2018, the Texas megachurch pastor, Kirbyjon H. Caldwell, was indicted on charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Now, Caldwell, who once served as spiritual advisors to both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, has been sentenced to six years in prison for defrauding investors within “house of worship” by tricking them into buying useless historical Chinese bonds, the sale of which benefited him greatly.

Caldwell pleaded guilty to the charges last March and was sentenced to hard-time in Shreveport, Louisiana, this past Wednesday. He and co-defendant Gregory A Smith both faced charges back in 2018.

Before his career came crashing down around him following his indictment in 2018, Caldwell was the senior pastor of Houston’s Windsor Village United Methodist Church. The church boasts a membership of more than 14,000 members.

Caldwell worked with Smith, a Shreveport-based investment advisor, to trick people into buying about $3.5 million in historical Chinese bonds. The bonds were supposedly issued by the former Republic of China that was overthrown by the communist government in 1949. The bonds have no current investment value despite the pastor’s claims when selling them.

According to the Securities and Exchange Commission, the old Chinese bonds were “mere collectibles with no value outside of the memorabilia market.” Nevertheless, Caldwell and Smith tried to sell as many of them as possible under the false pretense that they held great value. Caldwell’s position as the senior pastor of a megachurch made it easier for him to sell the bad bonds to eager people.

Caldwell “used his status as the pastor of a megachurch to help convince the many victim investors that they were making a legitimate investment, but instead, he took their hard-earned money from them and used it for his own personal gain,” Acting U.S. Attorney Alexander Van Hook said in a statement. “This office will continue to investigate and prosecute those who scheme and prey upon the elderly and others.”

Caldwell earned about $900,000 from the scam. He used the large influx of cash to pay down credit card debt and mortgages, which helped him maintain his lavish lifestyle, according to the Justice Department.

Caldwell was sentenced to six years in federal prison. But he must also pay restitution of $3,588,500 and a fine of $125,000, which really cuts into his ability to maintain his luxury lifestyle. He will enter federal prison on June 22, 201. When he does get released about six years in the future, he will spend a year on supervised release.

Like President Trump, the senior pastor is a graduate of the Wharton School of Business.

Floyd LeBlanc, chairman of the Windsor Village Church Family Personnel Committee, claimed that Caldwell accepts his role in the crime and has paid restitution to the victims.

“Mr. Caldwell has apologized and asked forgiveness from the people harmed in this matter,” LeBlanc said. “We’re very disappointed that Mr. Caldwell’s contributions to society and his extraordinary efforts to make every victim whole resulted in a sentence that is disappointing.”

Smith was sentenced to six years in prison back in November 2020.