New Ponzi Scheme Targeted Church Congregations

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Bernie Madoff was the ultimate scum if you consider the size, time period and numbers of clients that his Ponzi scheme damaged.  It was billions of dollars lost.  There may be a new scum bag in the media over a Ponzi scheme that was targeting church congregations.

The Securities and Exchange Commission has announced on its website that it has charged a “Social Capitalist” with running a Ponzi scheme targeting socially-conscious investors in church congregations. Today’s SEC charge alleges that Ephren W. Taylor II “made numerous false statements to lure investors into two investment programs being offered through City Capital Corporation, where he was the CEO.”

The SEC charged that investor money going did not go to charitable causes and economically disadvantaged businesses as promised, but that Mr. Taylor secretly diverted hundreds of thousands of dollars to publishing and promoting his books, hiring consultants to refine his public image, and funding his wife’s singing career.

Today’s charge noted that the SEC has also charged the firm City Capital and its former chief operating officer Wendy Connor, who lives in North Carolina and along with Taylor received hundreds of thousands of dollars from investors in salary and commissions.

Apparently Mr. Taylor and City offered two primary investments via promissory notes supposedly funding various small businesses and also interests in “sweepstakes” machines where a portion of the profits were expected to go into charities.

The size is nowhere near the billions of dollars which Madoff stole.  Still, the SEC said that more than $11 million was raised by Taylor and City Capital from hundreds of investors nationwide from 2008 to 2010 which was ultimately used to operate the Ponzi scheme.

Nice… Real nice.  And people wonder why the trust factor is so low.