A former businessman was accused Thursday in federal court of luring worshipers at mostly black churches into a phony scheme promising rock-solid investments, then secretly diverting their money to fund his lavish lifestyle.
Ephren Taylor swindled more than $11 million while he was chief executive of North Carolina-based City Capital Corporation, according to the complaint filed in Atlanta by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
He told the investors their money would be used to support small businesses such as juice bars and gas stations, the complaint said. But instead regulators said the funding went to publicize Taylor’s books, hire consultants and even finance his wife’s singing career.
“Ephren Taylor professed to be in the business of socially conscious investing,” said David Woodcock, who directs the SEC’s Fort Worth Regional Office. “Instead, he was in the business of promoting Ephren Taylor.”
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