Eligio Regalado and his wife, Kaitlyn, claim they were following God’s will through cryptocurrency trades. Colorado officials, on the other hand, say they were unlawfully enriching themselves at the expense of investors.
The couple is now facing civil fraud charges. According to a complaint filed earlier this month by Colorado Securities Commissioner Tung Chan, they allegedly violated the Colorado Securities Act by setting up a cryptocurrency exchange and selling millions of dollars worth of INDXcoin without educating investors about the risks.
“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 Jan. 18 statement.
Eligio Regalado responded to the complaint in a video he shared with his investors and supporters, The New York Times reported.
In the video, he acknowledged that the Colorado Securities Commission was only doing its job.
“They have to do this,” he said, according to The New York Times. “I mean, if you think about this: We sold a cryptocurrency with no clear exit. We did. We took God at his word and sold a cryptocurrency with no clear exit.”
Regalado added that he hopes investors will get their money back and that he’s expecting God to “work a miracle in the financial sector.”
Why a Colorado pastor sold cryptocurrency
Regalado said he and his wife opened their cryptocurrency exchange and began selling cryptocurrency because they felt that God was calling them to embark on the project. They had no prior experience with trading, The Washington Post reported.
From June 2022 to April 2023, the couple “raised nearly $3.2 million from more than 300 individuals,” according to Chan’s complaint. They allegedly told investors that investing in INDXcoin would be a “low risk, high profit” activity, when it was actually high risk.
“The complaint alleges that in reality, the INDXcoin was illiquid and practically worthless; investors lost millions; and Defendants dissipated investor funds to support their lavish lifestyle,” Chan’s statement said.
In his video, Regalado said that he and Kaitlyn “pocketed about $1.4 million,” per The New York Times. Some of that went to taxes, but “a few hundred thousand dollars” went toward remodeling their home, he said, adding that God told them to do the remodel.
Regalado acknowledged that he and his wife had realized the cryptocurrency exchange wasn’t working right. He described his hope that God is “not done” with the project.
“One of two things have happened,” Regalado said, according to The New York Times. “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.”
What will happen to the Regalados?
Through the civil fraud lawsuit, which was filed in a Denver district court, state officials are seeking “preliminary and injunctive relief, damages for investors and for a constructive trust to be placed on the defendants’ property,” according to the statement.
Regalado said in his video that he shares the state’s goal of getting some money back to investors, but that he and his wife do plan to argue their case, The New York Times reported.