Colorado pastor accused of taking $1.3M in crypto fraud says ‘Lord commanded us to’

A Colorado-based pastor for an online church accused of stealing $1.3 million through a Bitcoin fraud scheme told followers in a video message that the Lord commanded him to do it.

Eli Regalado and his wife promoted his cryptocurrency, INDXcoin, to Christian groups in Denver, claiming that God informed him that if they invested, they would become wealthy, according to a Colorado Division of Securities statement released Thursday.

The Securities Division announced that INDXcoin had raised roughly $3.2 million. At least $1.3 million went directly to the Regalados or was “used for their own personal benefit,” according to a complaint filed Tuesday in Denver County District Court.

The Regalados couldn’t be reached for comment. In a video speech to his fans last week, Eli Regalado stated that the allegations that they pocketed $1.3 million “are true.”

“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 was quoted as saying in the clip.

According to the complaint, the couple reportedly allegedly used their investors’ monies to purchase a Range Rover, fancy handbags, jewelry, an au pair, boat rentals, and snowmobile trips.

The pair were charged with breaching anti-fraud sections of the Colorado Securities Act.

Colorado Securities Commissioner Tung Chan stated that she brought the civil fraud charges after being approached by persons who had invested and lost money with INDXcoin.

“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,” Chan said in a written statement.

‘Illiquid and virtually worthless’

Regalado stated that God informed him that investing in INDXcoin would make them wealthy, advertising it as a low-risk, high-profit investment based on the average value of the top 100 cryptocurrencies, according to the Securities Division.

INDXcoin was “illiquid and practically worthless,” according to the Securities Division’s announcement. The coin was only available via the Kingdom Wealth Exchange, which the Regalados closed down. It is no longer for sale anywhere.

“We took God at his word and sold a cryptocurrency with no clear exit,” Regalado said in a video speech on Friday. “We still believe that God will do a miracle. God is going to do a miracle in the banking industry.

Several people continue to comfort Regalado in the comments section of his video that God will “turn the situation around.”

Faith-Based Marketing

Regalado was 22 and serving a jail sentence for “boosting cars” when his faith drove him to become a pastor 20 years ago, he said in a YouTube live broadcast. He began preaching for Victorious Grace Church, an online-only church with only him and his wife listed as staff.

Regalado, who had no prior experience with cryptocurrency or exchanges, claimed that divine vision led him to establish INDXcoin and Kingdom Wealth Exchange.

“Last October [20]21, the Lord brought me this cryptocurrency. “He said, ‘Take this to my people for a wealth transfer,'” Regalado claimed in an August 2022 video update to INDXcoin supporters.

According to the civil complaint, Regalado promoted INDXcoin through presentations at his church and others he discovered through other pastors. From June 2022 to April 2023, the cryptocurrency raised approximately $3.2 million by selling unregistered securities, according to the report.

Regalado uses Bible texts in INDXcoin’s YouTube videos, advising investors to expect a “miracle” while they wait for “God’s plan” to be realized.

According to the complaint, Regalado also promised investors that they would “tithe” and “sow” in projects that benefited widows and orphans, but the money was mostly used for personal gain.

“They especially reached out to the Christian community, and there are several references to Scripture and faith. Chan, the securities commissioner, stated, “He cloaks himself in that to get people to give him money.” “That’s really heartbreaking for the people who trusted him.”

Eli Regalado, his wife, and his three firms have been charged with securities fraud, unlicensed broker-dealer activity, marketing unregistered securities, and imposing constructive trust.

They are set to appear in Denver District Court next week, according to the court record.

Chan encourages anyone who has invested in INDXCoin to contact the Colorado Division of Securities.

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