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Pastor Charged With Running $1.3 Million Crypto Scam Defends Himself: “The Lord Told Us To”


A Colorado pastor accused of running a million-dollar crypto scam has just released a video statement, defending his actions.

His excuse?

God told him to do it.

Seriously…this is no joke.

Here’s what happened:

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Last year, Pastor Eli Regalado released his own crypto token. Last week, he was charged with pocketing approximately $1.3 million in proceeds from the token while over 300 investors had no means of recovering any of their money.

In a video message, Regalado admitted to everything, “Those charges are true…We sold a cryptocurrency with no clear exit,” but then he went on to say that he was just following God’s instructions, “We did. We took God at his word.”

He went on to explain how God also told him to spend a “few hundred thousand” from the stolen funds on a home remodeling project that “the Lord told us to do.”

You can’t make this stuff up, folks.

Watch the video for yourself here:

Pastor Eli Regalado will get another chance to explain how he only scammed hundreds of investors out of more than a million dollars because it was God’s will on January 29 – at a court hearing.

Think the court will buy it?

CoinDesk has more on the story:

To err is human. But Colorado securities officials said that what Pastor Eli Regalado has been doing is more like fraud.

Regalado and wife Kaitlyn launched a crypto token last year called INDXcoin. Colorado Securities Commissioner Tung Chan filed charges last week against the couple and the entities they ran, accusing them of pocketing $1.3 million in crypto proceeds while more than 300 investors had no way to recover any of their money.

The pastor – who had worked in digital marketing – responded in a video message posted on the project’s website, sharing a sentiment that’s unusual from a crypto founder cornered by government authorities: “Those charges are true.”

“We sold a cryptocurrency with no clear exit,” he said, explaining that God told him to build it and give investors ten times the money they put in. “We did. We took God at his word.”

“The Lord told us to walk away from our parking company. … [H]e took us into this cryptocurrency … well, that cryptocurrency turned out to be a scam…. And I said Lord … you told me to do this,” he said in the video.

The couple also took about $1.3 million from more than $3 million raised for the project. Regalado said about $500,000 went to the Internal Revenue Services, and a “few hundred thousand” was devoted to a home remodeling project that “the Lord told us to do.”

The pastor, described in the token’s white paper as an “ordained Marketplace Minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” said he insisted to God before the project began, “I don’t have any experience in this industry. I don’t know what I’m doing.”

The New York Times added:

Mr. Regalado also said in the video that he went into the cryptocurrency business because “the Lord” told him to. He said that God had once come to him a dream and asked him to do so, and he accepted that he and his wife spent the funds in “a home remodel that the Lord told us to do.”

Mr. Regalado said that he still hoped that investors could get their money back, and that he believed “God is going to work a miracle in the financial sector.”

Commissioner Tung Chan of the Colorado Division of Securities said in a statement that “Mr. Regalado took advantage of the trust and faith of his own Christian community.”

“He peddled outlandish promises of wealth to them when he sold them essentially worthless cryptocurrencies,” Ms. Chan said.

The Colorado Attorney General’s Office declined to comment, citing the ongoing litigation.

Mr. Regalado led the Victorious Grace Church, according to records. A website for the church had been taken down as of Tuesday. Mr. Regalado also said in the video that in 2021 “the Lord” told him and his wife to step away from a marketing company they were running to start a “new thing.”

Of the more than $3 million that the couple had raised through INDXcoin, Mr. Regalado said that he and his wife pocketed about $1.4 million. About $500,000 of the money went to the Internal Revenue Service, and “a few hundred thousand dollars” went toward the home remodel.

About nine months ago, Mr. Regalado said, the undertaking “started falling apart,” adding that he didn’t know what he was doing.

“One of two things have happened,” Mr. Regalado said, “One: Either I misheard God and every one of you who prayed and came in, you as well, or two: God is still not done with this project and he’s going to do a new thing.”

Prosecutors said they were seeking damages to help restore losses to investors. Mr. Regalado said in the video that the couple planned to argue their case, and that their “goal” was for investors to get some of the money back.



 

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