Finally! Some positive news to report. A fraudster is sent to jail for 19 years.
We’ve been covering the antics of Ephren Taylor since 2013 when his Ponzi scheme duped investors and he was caught living under a false ID, hiding from authorities. His scheme, where money from one investor is paid to keep the others happy, works for a while but it ultimately doomed to fail. Taylor used congregations as his audience, taking advantage of the trust many people have in their church. Some people lost their life savings.
The man who devised a scheme to trick more than 400 people out of $16 million was sentenced to 19 years, seven months in federal prison, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said Tuesday.
Ephren Taylor II, while CEO of City Capital Corporation, directed a nationwide Ponzi scheme that targeted church-goers, Acting U.S. Attorney John Horn’s office said. Taylor, 32, of Overland Park, Kansas, must also pay $15,590,752.81 in restitution, Horn’s office said in an emailed statement.
“Taylor’s ‘Building Wealth’ tour accomplished exactly the opposite, victimizing hundreds of investors and leaving many of them financially ruined,” Horn said. “At churches across the country he touted himself as a socially conscious investor, but his investment opportunities were nothing but a Ponzi scheme designed to build his own personal wealth. This sentencing brings a measure of justice to those who remain devastated by his actions.”
But they don’t get their money back, I imagine.
Taylor targeted some well-known mega-churches like Bishop Eddie Long’s New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Ga., and Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church in Texas. People would hand over their life savings presumably trusting a brother in faith. This type of framing is called “affinity fraud” where there is an implied level of trust because the seller belongs to the same demographic group as you. Taylor targeted Christian African-Americans.