COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Three men charged in an investment scheme say they're innocent. Speaking out for the first time Thursday, the Three Hebrew Boys claim they didn't target investors, but that they're wrongfully being targeted by authorities.
A packed Free Gospel Church held people in support of the Three Hebrew Boys.
"I want the world to know that the God the Three Hebrew Boys serve is able to deliver us," said Pastor Joe.
'pastor Joe' is Joseph Brunson. He's one of the Three Hebrew Boys.
Along with Tim McQueen and Tony Pough, the men were charged earlier this year in a multi-million dollar investment scheme.
Authorities say the victims were their very own church members and military personnel.
Now, inviting media to their church, the Three Hebrew Boys speak out for the first time, saying their mission was simply to help the poor.
"We have committed no crime, we have done nothing wrong. But as Tim said, the real crime is you have three young black men in Columbia, South Carolina who have $17 million dollars in the bank. If we were crooks, who in their right mind would keep $17 million in the bank?" Brunson told the crowd.
"This is not an investment company, and the reason they're trying to charge is with selling unregistered securities is because they classify it as an investment," said McQueen.
They, in this case, is the attorney general's office. Officials say the three men sold unregistered securities, but never invested the money.
Authorities say the plan, known as a Ponzi scheme, was all based on a promise to nearly 15,000 clients that they'd make unusually high profits on their investments.
"We had multiple systems we used to generate returns," McQueen told the crowd.
And he says all were legal. Many in the room say they signed up, and the three Hebrew boys always delivered.
"Every contract, every piece of mail I was supposed to receive in the time I was supposed to receive it was brought directly to my doorstep. Believe in what these guys are doing. God bless the Three Hebrew Boys," says an investor.
The men say they hope authorities will hear their message and quote, "do the right thing." a spokesman for the attorney general's office had no official comment.
Reported by Dan Tordjman