Ephren Taylor finally arrested for bilking people out of millions

Ephren Taylor who bilked millions of dollars from church goers including members of Newbirth Missionary Baptist church and Lakewood Church was finally arrested for creating a ponzi scheme.

Taylor turned himself in to federal authorites in Kansas City early Tuesday. He is accused of conspiracy, mail and wire fraud and money laundering.

Taylor’s attorney, Christopher Bruno, said his client appeared before a judge and pleaded not guilty before being released. Bruno said Taylor’s next court appearance is in Atlanta before a federal judge on June 27.

“Mr. Taylor did voluntarily surrender to law enforcement immediately upon learning of the indictment, and he is anxious to address the pending charges,” Bruno told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Prosecutors said more than 80 investors in Georgia, including members of New Birth in Lithonia, lost at least $2 million during Taylor’s wealth management seminars, which allegedly targeted church congregations from at least April 2009 through October 2010.

In a 2012 complaint, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission accused Taylor of running an $11 million Ponzi scheme mainly targeting African-American investors, using their money to pay buiness expenses, pay off early investors and hide investment losses.

Taylor has reached a partial settlement of the SEC complaint, according to his attorney, who said his client neither admitted to nor denied claims in the agency’s complaint.

New Birth, headed by Bishop Eddie Long, reportedly reached a confidential financial settlement earlier this year with a dozen former members who said Long encouraged them to invest money with Taylor despite being told the investor was running a capital deficit. The members said they lost more than $1 million dollars.

“It has always been our prayer for a resolution to this matter in which many lost their investments,” New Birth said in a statement. “Our hearts go out to anyone who suffered losses, and we pray for healing.”