Ephren Taylor Charged By SEC With $11 Million Ponzi Scheme
The Securities and Exchange Commission has alleged that financial adviser Ephren Taylor scammed “over $11 million” from what was primarily “African-American churchgoers” in a giant Ponzi scheme which spanned across the United States.
At the New Birth Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, Taylor walked into the pulpit and accepted the microphone from pastor Eddie Long, who had just introduced him to the Sunday morning crowd of churchgoers, and stated:
“Everything he says is based on the word of God. We’re going to show you how to get wealth and use it for the building of his kingdom.”
With compelling sermon-like pitches intended to sway churchgoers into investing into fictitious business ventures and introductions from powerful pastors, alleged scam artist Ephren Taylor managed to peddle his Ponzi scheme in at least 40 states.
Taylor first gained notoriety as his rags to riches story received national attention. The now 29-year-old African-American grew up in poverty in Blackwater, Mississippi. He eventually developed a video game which turned him into a millionaire while still a teenager. He told ABC News in an interview back in 1997 that he was worth an estimated, “20 million on a bad day.”
A private investor, Lillian Wells, was scammed of her life savings after hearing Taylor speak at New Birth. He told Wells that her money would be invested in a venture called City Capital Corporation which was turning around homes in inner cities. In exchange for her life savings, the shady financial adviser claimed she would receive a 20% return on her investment. In regards to how she was swindled, Wells stated:
“He quoted scriptures.”
When Wells attempted to pull the initial capital invested into the venture out, Taylor simply disappeared. She was quoted having said:
“I couldn’t get a hold of anybody. You just can’t get them. That’s it. You just couldn’t get anybody.”
Wells, now struggling like many of the victims of Taylor’s more than $11 million Ponzi scheme, is now trying to prevent her home from going into foreclosure. She has indicated that she’s unsure on whether or not she will ever get her money back, however, she would like to see the con artist held accountable for his deception.
What are your thoughts on Ephren Taylor’s Ponzi scheme?
Source: Y! News