An online pastor has been accused of pulling in nearly $3.2 million as part of a cryptocurrency scam.
As the Washington Post reports, pastor Eligio Regalado targeted Christians in Denver, Colorado. The state's securities commissioner later filed a legal complaint against him, alleging Regalado and his wife Kaitlyn Regalado violated anti-fraud laws.
For his part, Regalado has since come up with a convenient and highly questionable defense: God told him to do it.
"The Lord said: I want you to build this," he told the WaPo. "We took God at his word and sold a cryptocurrency with no clear exit."
In the legal complaint, investigators claimed the couple was promoting the cryptocurrency called INDXcoin as a "low risk, high-profit investment" despite it being "illiquid and practically useless."
"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," said Colorado securities commissioner Tung Chan in an official statement.
Worse yet, Regalado and his wife used the millions of dollars they pocketed to "support their lavish lifestyle," per the complaint.
In a video response, the online pastor admitted to using hundreds of thousands of dollars to remodel his home, something "that the Lord told us to do."
At least, Regalados appears to have some regrets about the whole thing.
"We launched an exchange," he said in the video. "The exchange technology failed. Things went downhill."
"I know this looks terrible," he added.
It's a preposterous excuse that highlights the dangers of digital illiteracy, especially when it comes to unbacked and largely unregulated cryptocurrencies.
"New coins and new exchanges are easy to create with open source code," Chan said in her statement. "We want to remind consumers to be very skeptical."
More on crypto scams: Crypto Company Says Oops, Its Coin Was Being Used in a Human Trafficking Scam