Megachurch pastor Wiley Jackson has been charged with six counts of violating Georgia securities laws.
A DeKalb County grand jury handed down the indictment Thursday against Jackson and his brother, Rodney Jackson, for an investment scheme that began a decade ago.
According to DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James, the leader of Gospel Tabernacle Church recruited members to buy shares in an unregistered company called Genesis, LLC. James said neither brother was licensed by the state to sell securities.
"Some people lost a lot of money," said James.
CBS Atlanta News first reported on the alleged investment scheme in 2010, when two investors accused their former pastor of taking thousands of dollars.
According to the indictment, Abbey Shanks of Locust Grove lost $10,000 when she invested in Genesis in 2002.
"He said there was no risk," said Shanks, who has since left the church.
Shanks said Wiley Jackson promised investors that they wouldn't lose money.
The indictment also listed two other investors, Jo-Lynn Gilliam and Sharon Stone.
During an interview with CBS Atlanta News in 2010, Gilliam and Shanks said dozens of church members invested in the Jackson brothers' company.
According to James, each count of violating the Georgia Securities Act carries a maximum prison term of 10 years.
Bishop Wiley Jackson, as he's referred to by his congregants, founded Gospel Tabernacle Church with four locations in southeast Atlanta, Stone Mountain, Griffin and Fayetteville.
James warned people to be cautious when investing money at the behest of their spiritual leaders.
"It's a dangerous thing when you mix religion and investing," said James.
Copyright 2012 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
Wednesday, July 23 2014 1:37 PM EDT2014-07-23 17:37:11 GMT
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