A pastor and his wife may have more than just God to answer to in the coming months.
The Colorado couple is facing fraud charges in a cryptocurrency scheme that ended with allegations they stole $1.3 million from their followers.
The Colorado Securities Commission has accused pastor Eli Regalado and his wife Kaitlyn of intentionally defrauding investors by promoting a cryptocurrency to their Christian community – and promising investors that God would reward them financially if they purchased it.
“God Told Us To”
In a nine-minute video response on the coin’s website, the pastor mounts an interesting defense: God told him to.
Here's a synopsis of the highlights:
In response to the allegations that he and his wife pocketed over $1 million dollars, Regalado admits: “Those charges are true."
"Out of the $1.3 [million], half a million dollars went to the IRS,” he explains, “and a few hundred thousand dollars went to a home remodel the Lord told us to do."
“It was last October ‘21 that the Lord brought this cryptocurrency to me,” Regalado states in the video. Acknowledging the coin was already overvalued and an admitted “scam,” they nevertheless brought the coin to investors because God said to, promising them up to a 10x return on investment.
Regalado says that at every step of the way, God told him directly he was doing the right thing.
“I’m like, ‘where’s this liquidity gonna come from?’ and the Lord says ‘trust me’,” Regalado explained.
Next Level Prosperity Gospel
How did the scheme work, exactly? You might call it the new frontier of prosperity gospel.
Pastor Regalado and his wife marketed the cryptocurrency, INDXcoin, to Christians in the Denver area, and ended up raising nearly $3.2 million from 300 investors.
The Securities Commission says that the coin was only available to be bought and sold via the Kingdom Wealth Exchange, which was created, owned, and operated by the Regalados – an exchange which is now shut down.
God's Will, or Man's?
Pastor Regalado allegedly guaranteed his fellow Christians that the coin would provide a big return on investment – and told would-be investors that God himself promised as much.
“We allege that Mr. Regalado took advantage of the trust and faith of his own Christian community and that he peddled outlandish promises of wealth to them when he sold them essentially worthless cryptocurrencies,” stated Colorado Securities Commissioner Tung Chan.
As Chan explains: “they specifically went out to the Christian community, and there’s a lot of references to scripture and faith. He cloaks himself in that to get people to give their money to him."
“That’s really heartbreaking for the people who trusted him.”
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