Pastor Throws God Under the Bus After Fraud Charges

'The Lord told us to,' Colorado's Eli Regalado tells his flock
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 23, 2024 12:55 PM CST
Pastor Throws God Under the Bus After Fraud Charges
A screen shot of pastor Eli Regalado   (YouTube)

A pastor in Colorado stands accused of bilking his flock out of millions of dollars in a cryptocurrency scheme to fund a lavish lifestyle, reports NBC News. And in a video to his followers, Eli Regalado admits that he and wife Kaitlyn did indeed pocket $1.3 million in the venture. "I just wanted to come out and say those charges are true," he said, per the Guardian. "A few hundred thousand dollars went to a home remodel the Lord told us to do." In addition to the home remodel, the Regalados also allegedly spent the money on a Range Rover, luxury handbags, jewelry, an au pair, and pricey trips. About $300,000 allegedly went to their online-only Victorious Grace church.

Prosecutors say Regalado and his wife raised more than $3 million from about 300 followers who followed his advice to invest in something called INDXcoin, per a news release. Regalado told investors that God promised him they'd all become wealthy, but he now acknowledges the crypto exchange has failed. "The Lord said: I want you to build this," Regalado said. "We took God at his word and sold a cryptocurrency with no clear exit." Colorado Securities Commissioner Tung Chan has a different take, saying the pastor "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."

The agency says the couple had no crypto experience and continued pitching the coin even after a third-party auditor described it as fundamentally unsound and dangerous. "Either I misheard God, and every one of you who prayed and came in—you as well," the pastor says in his video. "Or two, God is still not done with this project." The Regalados face civil fraud charges. (More cryptocurrency stories.)

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