Tag Archive: Gregory Smith

Black Collar Crime: Methodist Pastor Kirbyjon Caldwell Accused of Fraud

kirbyjon caldwell

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

Kirbyjon Caldwell, megachurch pastor of Windsor Village United Methodist Church in Houston, Texas, was indicted today and charged with “conspiracy to commit wire fraud, six counts of wire fraud, one count of conspiring to commit money laundering and three counts of money laundering.”

KTBS-3 reports:

A Shreveport financial planner and the pastor of a Houston, Texas, megachurch are accused of bilking investors of more than $1 million.

Thursday, a federal grand jury returned a 13-count indictment against Gregory Alan Smith, 55, of Shreveport and Kirbyjon H. Caldwell, 64, of Houston.

Smith is the owner of Greg Smith Financial Group. Caldwell is pastor of Windsor Village United Methodist Church, a 16,000-member megachurch in Houston. He was an unofficial advisor to former presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

Smith and Caldwell are charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, six counts of wire fraud, one count of conspiring to commit money laundering and three counts of money laundering.

According to the indictment, Smith used his influence and status as the operator and manager of Smith Financial Group in Shreveport, and Caldwell used his influence and status as pastor at his church to lure investors to pay more than $1 million to invest in Historical Chinese bonds.

These bonds were issued by the former Republic of China prior to losing power to the communist government in 1949. They are not recognized by China’s current government and have no investment value.

Smith and Caldwell promised high rates of return, sometimes three to 15 times the value of the investments, according to the indictme.

Federal authorities allege Smith and Caldwell used investors’ money to pay personal loans, credit card balances, mortgages, vehicle purchases and other personal expenses.

….

The Houston Chronicle adds:

A prominent Houston pastor and spiritual adviser to President George W. Bush has been indicted on federal charges he sold more than more than $1 million in worthless Chinese bonds to elderly and vulnerable investors, according to federal authorities.

Kirbyjon H. Caldwell, 64, and Shreveport financial planner Gregory Alan Smith, 55, were indicted Thursday on 13 charges accusing them of wire fraud and money laundering, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Louisiana said in a Thursday statement.

Caldwell is accused of using his position as the senior pastor of the Windsor Village United Methodist Church to lure more than $1 million in investments into historic Chinese bonds that are not recognized by the Chinese government. He and Smith told investors they could see returns as high as 15 times their initial investment, prosecutors said.

The indictment accuses the men of cheating 29 investors between April 2013 and August 2014 of nearly $3.5 million for what were described as “mere collectible memoribilia.”

….

 

Caldwell, a Houston native, developed a friendship with George W. Bush when he was governor of Texas, and he offered the benediction to Bush’s 2001 inauguration as president. He also performed the wedding for Bush’s daughter, Jenna, in Crawford in Central Texas.

Caldwell co-authored a 1999 book, The Gospel of Good Success. His work is credited with helping create the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives under Bush.

….

Caldwell’s church bio page states:

Kirbyjon H. Caldwell is Senior Pastor of Windsor Village United Methodist Church. Under the leadership of Caldwell since 1982, Windsor Village Church membership has increased from 25 members to more than 16,000, making it one of the largest Protestant Churches in the country. As a result of Caldwell’s effective social entrepreneurship, both Caldwell and the Windsor Village Church Family have been featured extensively in national and international print and broadcast media, including U.S. News & World Report, the British Broadcasting Corporation, The Wall Street Journal and the CBS Evening News. Caldwell was included in Newsweek’s “Century Club”, the publication’s list of 100 people to watch as America moved into the 21st century.

In partnership with the Windsor Village Church Family, Caldwell has spearheaded several independently operated nonprofits and community development projects that have impacted the social and economic landscape of central Southwest Houston, including The Power Center and Pointe 2.3.4. The Power Center is a 21st century service delivery model of private and public partnership that serves 11,000-plus families a month. Pointe 2.3.4. is a 234-acre, mini-master-planned community that encompasses a commercial park which includes a: CVS Pharmacy, Walgreen’s, Advance Auto Parts, McDonald’s, Taco Bell, ABC Dental and TSO; Corinthian Pointe, a residential subdivision consisting of 462 homes; a YMCA; an HISD elementary school; a senior high charter school; Texas Children’s Pediatrics Center; Corinthian Village independent living facility for seniors; and the 183,000-square-foot Kingdom Builders’ Community Center. Collectively, the nonprofit projects have produced 700 permanent jobs and make a $65.5 million cash flow impact on the community annually. Additionally, Caldwell is the founder of three schools that provide education to students from elementary to senior high school.

Caldwell currently serves on several corporate and nonprofit boards, including NRG Energy where he serves as Chair of the Governance Nominating Committee, Inc., Bridgeway Capital Management, The Greater Houston Partnership Executive Committee, Southern Methodist University and M.D. Anderson-The University Cancer Foundation. He is also a limited partner with the Houston Texans NFL Franchise.

A native Houstonian, Caldwell was educated in the Houston public schools; received a B.A. Degree in Economics from Carleton College; an M.B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Business; a Master’s Degree in Theology from Southern Methodist University-Perkins School of Theology; and two honorary Doctor of Law degrees, one from Huston-Tillotson College and another from Carleton College.

Caldwell is a husband, father and author of the best seller The Gospel of Good Success and co-author of Entrepreneurial Faith.

Caldwell denies the bonds were illegitimate.