Parishioner says pastor duped her out of thousands

by: Tom Regan Updated:

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A former member of the Gospel Tabernacle Church said the Rev. Wiley Jackson and his brother persuaded her to invest $10,000 in a company that went bust.

"I know I was duped, lied to. And so did a lot of people," Abbie Shanks told Channel 2’s Tom Regan.

Shanks is one of three church members named as victims in an eight-count indictment against the brothers.  A DeKalb County grand jury indicted the two men Thursday on charges of selling unregistered securities, a violation of Georgia law.

Shanks said Wiley Jackson pitched plans for the investment company to his congregation in 2002.

"He promised us we would get close to $100,000 by investing $10,000," said Shanks.

Shanks said church members were told the contributions would be used to build a recording studio to produce and sell music, as well as real estate investments and other ventures. She said investors would have their money returned in five years, along with earnings. She said despite endless calls to the church, she never got her money back.

"It makes me feel like you're taking advantage of people less fortunate than you. People you're supposed to lead and teach. You take the little people's money so you can become larger," said Shanks.

Shanks contacted DeKalb District Attorney Robert James, which lead to an investigation of a company called Genisis LLC. James said the company was not licensed with the state to do business. He said the amount of money lost was $12,000.

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Office said the brothers surrendered to the jail for processing on the charges Friday afternoon and posted bond. 

A representative of the pastor emailed a statement to WSB-TV saying the pastor was surprised by the indictment and that there had been "no wrongdoing."



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