Bishop Eddie Long’s Church Not the Only Victim of Ephren Taylor’s Investment Scam
It looks like Bishop Eddie Long wasn’t the only Mega Church Pastor bamboozled by Ephren Taylor in the $11 million dollar Ponzi Scheme. Allegedly, the SEC told the Christian Post that Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church in Houston and several COGIC church congregations were also victims of Ephren Taylor’s investment scam.
Listen, CLB family we have got to be more careful with allowing people into our house offering us the land of milk and honey. Chile, sometimes we got to be strong enough to tell even the Pastor we when smell a rat.
Now they may get mad with you for a minute, but that’s ok cause all you doing is giving him some food for thought and maybe he will reflect your conversation, before he makes the decision to allow them access to his/her sheep.
By: Luiza Oleszczuk , Christian Post Reporter
The U.S. Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) slapped Ephren Taylor, a businessman already facing civil lawsuits for alleged million-dollar financial fraud, with a federal suit in Atlanta, Ga., Thursday, revealing a major affinity fraud allegedly carried out by Taylor targeting mostly African-American church congregations.
Eddie Long’s New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Atlanta, Ga., and Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, were two out of at least five churches Taylor allegedly targeted in what the SEC estimates to be an $11 million Ponzi scheme. The alleged perpetrator also targeted “a number of Church of Christ churches” and some secular individuals via radio advertisement and other methods, SEC told The Christian Post Friday.
Taylor, 29, a charismatic entrepreneur, speaker and former CEO of City Capital Corporation, and the company’s chief operating officer, Wendy Connor, were charged with soliciting the money from at least 350 people, SEC said. A great majority of these people had one thing in common – they were practicing Christians.
Taylor was targeting primarily church congregations, preying on their beliefs and emphasizing their common Christian heritage, appealing to their faith and convincing them that a portion of invested money would be spent on charitable causes and useful community projects, SEC believes. In fact, the moneywent into a grand pyramid scheme, as well as Taylor’s personal usage, the agency alleges.
The SEC believes the scheme to be a typical affinity fraud – a kind of investment fraud that preys upon members of identifiable groups, such as religious or ethnic communities.
“This kind of schemes prey upon inherent trust,” David L. Peavler, Associate Regional Director at the SEC’s Fort Worth Regional Office, told CP. They are also particularly dangerous for potential victims because “if you’re an investor and someone comes to you and they profess to believe the same things you do, or have the same background that you do, you may be more trusting that they are telling you the truth; that they have your interest in mind. And you might be less willing to ask questions,” he said.
A “substantial number of victims” that the agency alleges were Taylor’s primary target were churches, Peavler said. But that was not the sole group the scheme was aiming for, he added. The accused allegedly solicited from the general public through radio ads. “He [Taylor] went to secular, non-religion related seminars, where other investment professionals and other people were discussing investment strategy,” Peavler told CP. He spoke there and would obtain investors from there, as well as through his Internet presence.
Taylor’s credibility was apparently supported by his multiple media appearances and an impressive biography. He claimed to have been the “youngest African-American CEO of a publicly traded company” who started his first company at age 12 and “made his million dollars by the age of 16,” according to an online advertisement recommending Taylor as a guest speaker. The ad points out that Taylor specializes in getting out of debt and starting a business “with limited resources,” among other areas.
“Will you continue to stand by and let your church drown financially?” the advertisement reads. “It’s time to take action now by hosting a financial empowerment seminar at YOUR CONGREGATION with Minister Ephren W. Taylor, II. Call (877) 367-1463 as dates are filling fast.”
The phone number was out of service when CP dialed it Friday. Read More