Hundreds of Church Victims File Class Action Lawsuit Against Youngest Black CEO Ephren Taylor and Financial Institutions that Allegedly Facilitated Frauds

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Lawsuit Comes Just Days After the SEC Charges Ephren Taylor and his Colleagues With Running Ponzi Schemes

A class action lawsuit has been filed against Ephren Taylor, a self-described “minister,” who claimed to be a “social capitalist” and the “youngest African-American CEO of a publicly traded company.” The multi-count class action lawsuit (Case No.CV12 03322) was filed in Los Angeles Federal District Court on behalf of hundreds who were allegedly swindled in a series of Ponzi schemes orchestrated by Ephren Taylor and facilitated by several financial institutions. Among those named as defendants in this class action lawsuit are Ephren Taylor, his wife Meshelle Taylor, Equity Trust Company, The Entrust Group, Bank of America and Missouri Bank.

A copy of the suit is available in the Newsroom section of the Lerman Law firm website

This lawsuit comes on the heels of an announcement last week by the Securities and Exchange Commission that it is charging Taylor, City Capital Corporation and its former Chief Operating Officer Wendy Connor with “prey[ing] upon investors’ faith and their desire to help others” by “running a Ponzi scheme that targeted socially-conscious investors in church congregations.”

The class action lawsuit was filed by Cathy Jackson Lerman, PA together with California local trial counsel David Dorenfeld, Principal of Snyder Dorenfeld, LLP, Michael W. Brown, Associate at Snyder Dorenfeld, LLP, and co-counsel Jim Gitkin, Principal of Salpeter Gitken, LLP. The named plaintiffs for the suit include Liberty City Church of Christ of Miami, Florida, which will serve as the representative plaintiff for churches and other religious organizations that invested through Taylor-controlled entities and were allegedly defrauded.

A separate class action lawsuit was also filed against Equity Trust Company and The Entrust Group, companies which allegedly encouraged, facilitated, aided, abetted, promoted and allowed schemers to commit fraud and run Ponzi schemes using their self-directed IRAs accounts. A copy of the suit (Case No. CV1203305) will also be available on the Newsroom page of the Lerman Law firm website.

Ephren Taylor is accused of using as many as 50 shell companies that he controlled for almost a decade to perpetrate a religious affinity fraud targeting mainly African-American members of the Church of Christ all across the United States. It is believed that Taylor allegedly targeted this group because his father, Ephren Taylor Sr. has served as a minister in several Churches of Christ in Missouri and Kansas for many years. Most of the “investments” sold to the Taylor victims were allegedly fake, severely undervalued, or never actually made.

Cathy Lerman, of the Lerman Law Firm today stated: “I am seeking justice on behalf of hundreds of victims who were targeted. In many cases they lost of their life savings, but never their dignity. I am encouraging our plaintiffs to raise their voices and to make their legislators and regulators aware of how Ponzi schemes continue to be perpetrated through the use of self-directed IRA investment vehicles.”

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Evan Nierman
Lerman Law Firm
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