A tight-knit Colorado church community is campaigning to free six of its members convicted of fraud.
The members were found guilty of conspiracy to commit fraud as well as mail fraud and wire fraud in 2011. Prosecutors say Kendrick Barnes, Gary L. Walker, Demetrius K. Harper, Clinton A. Stewart, David A. Zirpolo and David A. Banks defrauded staffing companies of over $5.1 million.
Federal prosecutors contend that the six, including software developer Walker, deceived 42 companies hired to handle payroll into working with them for free as they tried to market Walker's crime-fighting software to the New York Police Department, the Department of Homeland Security and others.
The staffing companies lost more than $5 million. Prosecutors said more businesses could have been targeted if the FBI hadn't raided Walker's Colorado Springs business in 2005.
The Colorado Springs Fellowship Church argues that the six members jailed since 2012 are the victims of a conspiracy. During their trial, the men claimed they were not allowed to call certain expert witnesses on their behalf, and their constitutional rights against self-incrimination were compromised during the original trial.
The six businessmen have appealed.
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