A class action lawsuit filed in Raleigh alleges that Ephren W. Taylor II, famous for becoming “America’s youngest African American CEO of a public company,” was actually running a Ponzi scheme that defrauded churchgoers out of tens of millions of dollars.
The case, filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, accuses Taylor and other individuals and financial institutions who allegedly helped him perpetrate the Ponzi scheme, with wire fraud, money laundering, racketeering, violations of the RICO Act, and other violations of law.
“This is the first step in achieving justice for the hundreds of victims whose tens of millions were supposed to go toward ‘socially conscious’ investments,” said Fort Lauderdale Attorney Cathy J. Lerman who filed the class action suit along with Attorney Jim Gitkin, and Attorney David G. Schiller of Raleigh.
The Federal Complaint is over 100 pages long and contains several hundred pages of exhibits detailing Taylor’s alleged misdeeds. The list of Taylor’s alleged victims is expected to grow into the hundreds with the total losses reaching tens of millions of dollars.
The alleged victims are primarily churchgoers whose religious leaders invited Taylor into their houses of worship to deliver sermons and financial seminars. Many invested their life savings after being solicited from the pulpit. Taylor has refused public entreaties to return the alleged victims’ money, some of which went toward gaming devices that were installed without permits in several states and were subsequently shut down by police as illegal gambling operations.
David G. Schiller is the publisher of RaleighCitizen.com. This article is based upon a press release approved by Attorneys Lerman and Gitkin.