Pastor Faces 6 Years in Prison for Involvement in $3.5 Million Fraud Scheme
Milton Quintanilla | Contributor for News.Kyere.org
Kirbyjon Caldwell, the longtime pastor of the Houston-based United Methodist megachurch Windsor Village Church, was sentenced to 6 years in prison for his involvement in a $3.5 million fraud scheme.
According to Christianity Today, the sentencing took place on Wednesday at a federal court in Shreveport, Louisiana after Caldwell and a Shreveport investment adviser pleaded guilty last year for selling Chinese bonds to the elderly.
Floyd J. LeBlanc, who serves as chairman of the church’s personnel committee, expressed disappointment on behalf of the church over Caldwell’s sentencing.
“We’re very disappointed that Caldwell’s contributions to society and his extraordinary efforts to make every victim whole resulted in [this] sentence,” LeBlanc said. “We look to God because we believe God has a final answer in everything.”
Caldwell, 67, had given up his role as pastor after leading the predominantly Black church for 38 years. He also served as a spiritual advisor to presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
In a video posted to the Windsor Village Church’s Facebook page, LeBlanc accused the advisor, stressing that Caldwell was a victim in the multi-million-dollar scheme as he first invested in the bonds. The church contended that their now former pastor made up for his crimes because of his generosity and desire to pay back the victims.
Prior to his sentencing, Caldwell’s lawyers presented evidence showing that the pastor had paid back more than 4 million dollars, including over $1 million before being indicted in 2018.
“This experience has brought me to the valley of disgrace and dishonor. I’m ashamed of my actions,” Caldwell told the judge at Wednesday’s hearing, UM News reports.
Caldwell’s lawyers also urged that Caldwell would be “confined to his home, rather than going to prison, citing his ongoing treatment for prostate cancer, as well his hypertension and the threat COVID-19 poses for those incarcerated with underlying conditions.” In response, the judge postponed the report to June.
Currently, the megachurch, which seats 16,000 members, is led by Caldwell’s wife, Suzette.
Following the sentencing, United Methodist Bishop Scott Jones extended his prayers in a statement and acknowledged Caldwell’s “sincere expression of remorse.”
“The Lord will see our Church Family through this season,” the church said in the caption under the Facebook video. “Let’s continue to have faith and pray together. Be encouraged by Psalm 30:5, which promises that joy will follow sorrow.”
Photo courtesy: Pixabay