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Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Helping capitalist thugs fleece the church: The unending woes of Bishop Eddie Long: Documents show warning to Eddie Long over scheme by Ephren Taylor



 
Court records show Long was warned about self-described "social capitalist" Ephren Taylor more than a week before Long's parishioners were scammed out of more than a million dollars. 


FIRST SEE: 

B.E.L.L. Worship: Now Watch This! Eddie Long is not being taken down by God! He is not being persecuted or attacked. Eddie Long is getting what he deserves 


  

Bishop Eddie Long Accuser Centino Kemp To Release Tell-All Book 

 

Documents show warning to Eddie Long over scheme by Ephren Taylor

http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/local/documents-show-warning-eddie-long-over-scheme-ephr/nWHpb/  

Posted: 8:50 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013


ATLANTA — 

Channel 2 Action News has uncovered new allegations against megachurch pastor Eddie Long.


Court records show Long was warned about self-described "social capitalist" Ephren Taylor more than a week before Long's parishioners were scammed out of more than a million dollars.




"Put your hands together and receive my friend, my brother, the great Ephren Taylor," Long preached to his congregants at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in October 2009. He then embraced Taylor, who took the stage and pitched his investments.


"I thought we were betrayed. It really hurts even more now," said Lillian Wells, who invested $122,000 with Taylor.


She said Taylor issued a promissory note saying he was investing her money in real estate, and guaranteed a 20 percent return.


"That was my everything, and that's it, it's gone," Wells told Channel 2 investigative reporter Jodie Fleischer, adding she always thought it was suspicious that Long didn't lose any money with Taylor.




Lillian Wells, who invested $122,000, said Taylor issued a promissory note saying he was investing her money in real estate, and guaranteed a 20 percent return.




Long never invested despite urging his congregation to do so.


"Put your hands together and receive my friend, my brother, the great Ephren Taylor," Long preached to his congregants at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in October 2009. He then embraced Taylor, who took the stage and pitched his investments.

Wells is one of a dozen church members now suing Taylor and his companies, Bishop Long, and the church, in hopes of recovering that money.


During the discovery process, the church handed over an internal memo dated nearly two weeks prior to Taylor's New Birth seminars.




In 2011, Long recorded a YouTube video, referring to Taylor as a "great man," and urging him to repay the congregants' money.



An unidentified caller told Long's assistant that he "did not want the church to be taken advantage of."


He warned of Taylor's $3 million capital deficit, and that Taylor "will issue promissory notes to the congregation if allowed that gives him legal authorization to do what he wants and there will be no return on investment."


"To hear that they got a memo that says this guy you're bringing here is a crook, I think that was ridiculous," said Wells. "I really think that if you know something, either you should cancel, you shouldn't bring the person there."


"That's just evidence that's called a smoking gun," said attorney Jason Doss, who represents the church members.


Doss said Long had a duty to pass along that warning.


"He has to put his church members' interests before his own," said Doss. "He was obligated under the law to tell everybody about it, and obviously he didn't."


In 2011, Long recorded a YouTube video, referring to Taylor as a "great man," and urging him to repay the congregants' money.


The Securities and Exchange Commission has since charged Taylor with running a Ponzi scheme, alleging he bilked hundreds of investors nationwide out of more than $11 million.

Wells sacrificed and saved for 30 years. She's retired, but has to continue working. She nearly lost her home to foreclosure, and said she would not have trusted Taylor with her whole life savings if the Bishop she trusted hadn't vouched for him.


"Did you get any kickbacks from it?" Wells asked rhetorically. "Or did you just really sit back and allow your people to be taken? A shepherd doesn't do that to their sheep."


In a statement, a spokesman said the church remains hopeful Taylor and his companies will restore the funds that were taken. The statement also said the church will continue to cooperate as the case proceeds. It did not mention the internal memo warning Long about Taylor.

Bishop Eddie Long 


New Birth members questioned by feds

http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/local/new-birth-members-questioned-feds-computers-seized/nFKd5/  

Posted: 7:49 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 20, 2011


DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. —

Channel 2 Action News has confirmed federal agents have questioned members of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church about a failed investment scandal.  It's part of an ongoing case involving more than $1 million lost  by church members who are now suing the investment company, and the church.

"Many of us with our wealth and with our money, we're foolish," Ephren Taylor told thousands of New Birth members during church services in October 2009.

Lillian Wells says the foolish decision she made was trusting Taylor and his company with her life savings, $122,000.

"He needs to be put under the jail, not in the jail," said Wells, who is now a plaintiff in the lawsuit along with nine others. She says Taylor's company promised her a 20 percent return in interest.

The lawsuit claims Taylor in some cases assured church members the investments 'were safe, conservative and that they would provide guaranteed income.' It turns out Taylor and his companies were not licensed to sell investments or render investment advice in Georgia.

"I think he knew what he was doing all along and just was there for a farce. It was all false," Wells told Channel 2 investigative reporter Jodie Fleischer.

Fleischer asked Wells if she would have invested with Taylor if he wasn't recommended by Bishop Long.

"I wouldn't have. Flat out, I wouldn't have," Wells replied.

She says that's exactly what she told federal agents from the Secret Service who questioned her last month about Taylor's activities and the investments.

Attorney Quinton Seay says several of the other plaintiffs were also questioned.

Secret Service Agent Malcolm Wiley confirmed the Secret Service now has an open case on Ephren Taylor and his companies’ activities.

DeKalb County Police Lieutenant Pam Kunz confirmed that agency also received complaints about Taylor, and forwarded them to the Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC declined to comment.

But the securities division of Georgia's Secretary of State's office confirms it has launched a separate investigation involving potential violations of Georgia's Securities Act by Ephren Taylor and his company, City Capital Corporation. Investigators want to know how the church members came to invest with Taylor and whether any laws were  broken.

Secretary of State Brian Kemp said, "It is possible the scope of the investigation could expand as we obtain additional information. If any individuals believe they may have information relating to our investigation, they are urged to contact the Secretary of State's office."

Attorneys for Wells and the other plaintiffs say Bishop Eddie Long and his church should also be responsible for the investment losses.

"With regard to the Georgia securities laws, he stepped out of the traditional role as a pastor and stepped into the role as a salesman of securities," said Jason Doss, Wells' attorney.

In fact the new lawsuit alleges 'New Birth and Bishop Long directly or indirectly received compensation from the other defendants, for allowing them to render investment advice and to solicit the investment opportunities.'

"If that is so, that would mean that maybe he was a part of it," added Wells.

In February, Bishop Long made a plea to Taylor to return the money.

"Please do what's right great fellow great man, let's settle this for these families and move on," said Long in a video message posted on YouTube.

The lawsuit says Long used his position of power and authority to coerce plaintiffs and other church members to trust the defendants Ephren Taylor and his companies. Wells says she lost her entire savings, and is just weeks from losing her home to foreclosure.

“You lead your sheep to the water and tell them to drink, you know, you drink. So you've already checked out that pond and made sure that that pond is safe for you to drink.”

A spokesman for Bishop Long and the church declined to comment.

New Birth Missionary Baptist Church statement on Ephren Taylor

http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/new-birth-missionary-baptist-church-statement-ephr/nWHkt/  

Posted: 7:22 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013
Statement from Art Franklin, New Birth Missionary Baptist Church spokesman:
“We have not seen an Amended Complaint. We have produced documents in the routine course of discovery. We remain hopeful that Ephren Taylor and companies related to him restore the funds that were taken from congregants at New Birth and churches around the county. We continue to cooperate as the case proceeds.”


New lawsuit filed against Bishop Eddie Long, church

http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/local/new-lawsuit-filed-against-bishop-eddie-long-church/nFKG4/  

Posted: 7:18 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 20, 2011

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. —

Bishop Eddie Long and his mega church are at the center of another lawsuit involving an investment sponsored by the church.

Channel 2 investigative reporter Jodie Fleischer spent hours reading pages of documents in which members said an investment encouraged by the church duped them out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Ten current and former members of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church are suing the church and Bishop Eddie Long.

The suit claims members lost money in an investment pitched to church members.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit said they considered Long and his church to be trustworthy, and they said the events held by the defendants were widely publicized and marketed to make sure they were well attended by church members.

Now, with more than $1 million lost, those members are holding Long and the church responsible.

“Many of us with our wealth and with our money, we’re foolish,” said Ephren Taylor on video, while making his pitch to thousands of church members, asking them to invest with his companies.

He presented them as extremely successful and profitable, in some cases assuring church members the investments were safe, conservative, and that they would provide guaranteed income, according to the lawsuit.  But that isn’t what happened.



Bishop Long Appeals For Return Of Investment Money

http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/bishop-long-appeals-for-return-of-investment-money/nFDdf/  

Updated: 10:59 p.m. Monday, Jan. 31, 2011 | Posted: 6:33 p.m. Monday, Jan. 31, 2011
DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. —

Bishop Eddie Long is appealing to an investment company to return almost $1 million to members of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church.

Long went on YouTube to ask City Capital Corporation and its former CEO, Ephren Taylor, to return the money after some investments went bad.

"We found out later that some of our members had made some investments in IRAs and retirement accounts," said Long, as he looked into a camera. "And through that collectively, about $1 million has not been returned. The investment has gone sour."

Long does not explain why he thinks the money should be returned. In the video, he explained that New Birth hosted a financial seminar last year featuring Taylor and afterward several church members invested money with him.

"Please do what's right," Long said, apparently to Taylor. "You're a great fella, a great man. You do great things. Let's settle this so these families can move on."

Channel 2 Action News reporter Richard Elliot learned Taylor resigned as CEO of City Capital last year. Company stock, once worth $20 a share, now trades for a penny a share. The Better Business Bureau of Los Angeles gave City Capital an "F" rating and stated in a report, "complaints allege a pattern of unfulfilled agreements, failure to honor their money back guarantee and difficulty contacting the company."

Taylor released a statement Monday evening which stated in part: "The legal team has been working since last year with individuals to legally and privately resolve, refund, and restructure any potential issues."

Long does not accuse Taylor or City Capital of any wrongdoing. And Long stresses that neither he nor New Birth profited from the financial seminar.

"I wanted to let you know New Birth received, nor myself, any financial blessing or gift from Ephren Taylor or City Capital," said Long. "It was strictly done to help our members and members of the community to grow and have a life."