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Pastor Charged With $3.2 Million Crypto Fraud

Scheme exploited ‘trust and faith of his own Christian community’

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The Denver-based pastor of an online-only church was charged with civil fraud last week after raising $3.2 million from victims who invested in his worthless cryptocurrency, reported The Denver Post and BusinessDen.

Eligio Regalado, who goes by Eli, and his wife Kaitlyn, who run Victorious Grace Church in Denver, targeted Christians in the area with offers for their new cryptocurrency, INDXcoin, which was sold only on their Kingdom Wealth Exchange, which closed for good Nov. 1.

Eli Regalado promised his followers that “many of you very soon are going to have more money than you’ve ever had in your life by participating in this crypto.” He also promised that he would “tithe” and “sow” invested funds to help widows and orphans.

“It is impossible to mess this up,” the couple claimed.

But more than 300 people who invested between June 2022 and April 2023 may never see their money again—the Regalado’s spent at least $1.3 million on themselves then donated another $290,000 to their nonprofit virtual church, which has since disappeared from the internet.

Investors’ money went to buy a Range Rover, jewelry, handbags, cosmetic dentistry, recreational adventures, an au pair, and “a home remodel that the Lord told us to do.”

“Defendants have ensured that the investors will never recoup their funds because they took the investment money for their own benefit,” said the lawsuit, which also charged the couple with selling unregistered securities and selling investments without a license.

“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,” Colorado Securities Commissioner Tung Chan said in a statement. The suit was filed in civil court, so the couple would face fines as opposed to prison time.

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The couple claimed their cryptocurrency was a “low risk, high profit investment” but it was actually “practically useless,” said a press release from the Colorado Division of Securities.

The couple had no previous experience with crypto, and their Kingdom Wealth Exchange was “catastrophically technologically deficient.”

“God is in the business of doing new things and breaking seals,” Eli Regalado claimed. “And he did tell us to do this.”

The couple were good at marketing, and had previously run a Christian firm, Grace Led Marketing. But they were bad at finances. They spent investor funds so quickly that they occasionally had to shut down their Kingdom Wealth Exchange.

Each time, the Regalado’s told investors that God wanted them to stay in the crypto fund and would perform miracles to make them rich.

“Just take that word as gospel truth and execute on that word and do not worry about how the money’s going to happen,” said Eli Regalado in one message to worried investors. “I really believe you’re going to see a miracle in very short order.”

Regalado peppered his false financial claims with promises of blessings and miracles.

“The Lord brought this cryptocurrency to me,” he claimed, and he said God told him: “Take this to my people for a wealth transfer.”

“It has been confirmed a hundred times since,” the pastor said, according to a lawsuit filed in Denver this week.

“It is coming, people,” he said. “Part of the making way for His people is to really train them up and teach them how finances work in the kingdom.”

Colorado’s Securities Commissioner issued a warning to people anxious to get rich through crypto.

“New coins and new exchanges are easy to create with open source code. We want to remind consumers to be very skeptical,” said Tung Chan.

Colorado provided contact information for people who invested with INDXCoin or any of Eli Regalado’s other entities in its press release.

Main photo: Video screenshot of Eli Regalado via X @molly0xFFF

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Steve Rabey

Steve Rabey is a veteran author and journalist who has published more than 50 books and 2,000 articles about religion, spirituality, and culture. He was an instructor at Fuller and Denver seminaries and the U.S. Air Force Academy. He and his wife Lois live in Colorado.