Abbie Shanks said she feels getting her $10,000 back is a victory. However, Shanks does not feel that Rev. Wiley Jackson faced a strict enough punishment for his actions.
According to a spokesman for the DeKalb County District Attorney's Office, securities fraud charges against a megachurch pastor and his brother have been dismissed.
Jackson, of Gospel Tabernacle Church, and his brother, Rodney Jackson, were named in an eight count indictment handed down in December.
"He gave us our money back to keep from going to jail, to keep from going to trial, to make a deal that is the reason why we got our money back," Shanks said. "It wasn't moral responsibility, he was just trying to save his own behind. That's the deal."
Jackson's attorney Jerry Froelich said Wiley Jackson gave back the money out of moral responsibility. Froelich said he has no doubt, in his mind, that he would have won the case brought against Jackson by the district attorney's office.
"They would have had to prove, he knowingly violated the law, that didn't happen," Froelich said. "I would have taken that to trial any day of the week, and twice on Sunday."
The district attorney's office said more victims came forward after a grand jury indicted the Jacksons in December.
CBS Atlanta News first exposed the brothers' questionable investment company called Genesis, LLC in 2010.
Allegedly, the company was not licensed to issue investment contracts.
CBS Atlanta News has learned the Jackson brothers have repaid seven victims a total of $90,000.
After the money was set up in an escrow account and the victims were repaid, the case was dismissed.
"We consider this a huge win for the victims in this matter," said District Attorney Robert James. "Our goal with any case in our office is to find a resolve for those affected by a crime. The news media played an important role in helping us identify additional individuals who invested a considerable amount of their personal money into a company known as Genesis LLC. Now, $90,000 has been repaid to those households. For us, that's a significant victory."
Rev. Jackson released the following statement:
"All my actions in connection with Genesis were done with the advice of a Certified Public Accountant, who was a licensed security broker. My actions violated no law. When Genesis was not successful, I attempted to contact all investors and repay them principal and interest. I did this in 2008. It seems several investors were not located. When they were, I paid them, just as I paid all the other investors in 2008. I was prepared for trial and would have been successful at trial. The District Attorney, realizing that I would be successful, dismissed the case. Again, I have done nothing wrong and will continue to do the work of the ministry as we've always done."
Shanks said all she wanted was her money back, but has this advice for his current members.
"I hope people stop drinking the Kool Aid," Shanks said. "If he didn't get you this way, he will find another way to get you - he is full of lies."
According to James, the charges were dismissed because a conviction would have guaranteed prison time, but would not have guaranteed investors got their money back.
Copyright 2013 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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