Colorado Christian pastor admits stealing $1.3 million from followers in crypto scheme — says ‘the Lord told me to’

A Christian pastor in Colorado who heads an online church has been accused of pocketing $1.3 million a cryptocurrency fraud scheme. Now he’s apologizing to his followers and is saying he was only following God’s guidance, NBC News reported.

Eli Regalado and his wife told Christian communities to invest in their cryptocurrency, INDXcoin, saying that God sent him a message that people would become wealthy if they invested. After raising nearly $3.2 million, $1.3 million of those funds were pocketed by the Regalados or was “used to their benefit,” according to the Colorado Division of Securities.

In a video message to his followers, Regalado admitted that he pocketed the money. “Out of the $1.3 [million], half a million dollars went to the IRS, and a few hundred thousand dollars went to a home remodel the Lord told us to do,” he said in the video.

“We took God at his word and sold a cryptocurrency with no clear exit,” Regalado in his video address Friday. “What we’re believing for still is that God is going to do a miracle. God is going to work a miracle in the financial sector.”

From NBC News:

Regalado claimed that God told him investors would become wealthy if they put money into INDXcoin, promoting it as a low-risk, high-profit investment pegged to the average value of the top 100 cryptocurrencies, the Securities Division said.

In reality, INDXcoin was “illiquid and practically worthless,” the Securities Division said in its release. The cryptocurrency was available only in Kingdom Wealth Exchange, which the Regalados shut down. It can no longer be sold anywhere.

According to NBC News, people in the comment section of the video still seemed to support Regalado, saying that God would soon  “turn the situation around.”

Eli Regalado, his wife and his three companies have been charged with securities fraud, unlicensed broker-dealer activity, selling unregistered securities and imposition of constructive trust.

Sky Palma

Before launching DeadState back in 2012, Sky Palma has been blogging about politics, social issues and religion for over a decade. He lives in Los Angeles and also enjoys Brazilian jiu jitsu, chess, music and art.