Online pastor Eli Regalado sold tokens worth over $3 million to his flock, saying that the Lord had promised to give his followers a 10x return. Now, he faces civil fraud charges from the Colorado Securities Commission.

These allege that between June 2022 and April 2023, Regalado raised nearly $3.2 million from more than 300 individuals by selling the "worthless" and "unsafe" INDXcoin through its own exchange, convincing his followers that God had told him directly that investors would become wealthy if they put money into it. He is also accused of pocketing $1.3 million from the project (and spending this on luxury purchases), selling investments without a license and selling unregistered securities. 

“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.”

In a video response to the lawsuit, the pastor accepted that the charges are true and confessed that he sold cryptocurrency “with no clear exit,” took out $1.3 million and spent it on further development, taxes and a home remodelling, but “that the Lord told them to do.”

Eli Regalado and his wife, Kaitlyn, run the online-only Victorious Grace Church but are not dedicated solely to the salvation of souls. In 2021, they claim to have followed God’s recommendations, to give up their previous business and create a Kingdom Wealth Community, its native INDXcoin and an exchange, in order to give their community a 10x return. A local Denver outlet cited the securities commission, claiming that both “were skilled, experienced marketers who had raised millions of dollars for others, but they were not experienced coders,” which resulted in a “catastrophically technologically deficient” exchange and coin.

INDXcoin was a utility coin with market value based on the index rate of the world’s 100 top-performing cryptocurrencies by market capitalisation, according to the Community website. Those who owned it received access to “faith-based wellness and generational wealth training along with crypto-related educational content.”

At first, with God’s alleged help, everything was great, and the pastor says that records can prove it, but after the exchange launch things got more complicated, and Regalado claims he even asked God to stop as he had no experience and didn’t know what to do. Both the coin and the exchange were shut down on November 1, and investors were unable to retrieve their money. The pastor explained that they didn’t have enough money to maintain the service and recommended the community to “stop being ruled by mammon, remove all negative talk, and focus on utility.” 

Regalado says that there are two possible explanations for what is happening now: either he and his followers misheard God, or the Lord simply hasn’t finished with the project yet. The couple is now waiting for the Lord to work “a miracle in the financial sector” so people can withdraw their money. As the lawsuit is civil, not criminal, the most likely outcome for the couple, if found guilty, will be a requirement to pay fines, but it is unclear if the ex-believers will ever get their money back.

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