Prolific 29-year-old business man Ephren Taylor, self-dubbed the “Youngest Black CEO in America”, is facing charges over what the SEC is calling a Ponzi scheme that swindled unsuspecting Black church members of upwards of $11 million dollars to fund his own affluent lifestyle.
ABC News recounts how Taylor spoke from the pulpit at Atlanta’s New Birth Baptist Church with the headline-grabbing bishop Eddie Long by his side in 2009 to sell his financial pipe dream.
“We’re going to show you how to get wealth and use it for the building of his kingdom,” Taylor shouted to the congregation one morning in 2009. It was all part of what he called his “Building Wealth Tour,” which crisscrossed the country touting his investments and financial advice.
But according to the Securities and Exchange Commission, what Taylor was actually peddling was a giant Ponzi scheme, one aimed to “swindle over $11 million, primarily from African-American churchgoers,” that reached into churches nationwide, from Long’s megachurch in Atlanta to Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church congregation in Houston.
But Taylor has disappeared, hiding out from lawsuits, federal charges and angry, mostly African-American, investors in at least 40 states.