SEC Complaint Alleges That Ponzi Scheme Targeted Church Members | ajc.com
The Securities and Exchange Commission has filed a complaint alleging that a businessman ran a Ponzi scheme that targeted church investors, including members at Lithonia-based New Birth Missionary Baptist Church.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District in Atlanta, accuses Ephren W. Taylor II, the former CEO of City Capital Corp., of operating a scheme to swindle more than $11 million from predominately African-American church congregations. The SEC complaint follows a suit filed by some New Birth members last year in DeKalb County that named Taylor, the church and its pastor, Bishop Eddie Long, concerning an investment seminar Taylor conducted at the church in 2009.
The SEC complaint alleges that investors’ money was used to pay rent, payroll and expenses at City Capital’s various affiliates. It also alleges that while some of the money was used as promised, Taylor secretly diverted hundreds of thousands of dollars that he used to publish and promote his books, pay credit card bills and rent for his New York apartment, and fund his wife’s singing career.
The complaint, which identifies Taylor as a “self-proclaimed social capitalist,” also names City Capital and Wendy Jean Connor, the firm’s chief operating officer until November 2010.