FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., Oct. 20, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- A class action lawsuit alleges that Ephren W. Taylor II, famous for becoming "America's youngest African American CEO of a public company," was in reality the ringleader of a series of cynical Ponzi schemes that stole tens of millions of dollars from hard-working churchgoers. Taylor was prominently featured in media outlets including NPR, Fox, ABC, CNN, Forbes and others, and was apparently tapped to create and manage a $1 million endowment fund for rapper Snoop Dogg's Youth Football League.
The lawsuit, filed this month 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 his Ponzi schemes with wire fraud, interstate transportation of stolen property, money laundering, racketeering, violations of the RICO Act and a number of other serious violations.
"Today is the first step in achieving justice for hundreds of victims whose tens of millions were supposed to go toward 'socially conscious' investments, but instead enriched Ephren Taylor and his cohorts," said Cathy J. Lerman, Founder of Cathy Jackson Lerman, PA, which filed the class action suit along with co-counsel Jim Gitkin, principal of Salpeter Gitkin, LLP in Fort Lauderdale, and David Schiller, principal of the Schiller & Schiller law firm in Raleigh, North Carolina who serves as local counsel. "This self-described minister who targeted and bilked hard-working, devout minorities for his own financial gain must be brought to justice."
The class action lawsuit, available at www.lermanfirm.com, is 100-plus pages, and contains several hundred additional pages of exhibit files detailing alleged misdeeds by Taylor and various companies he led and with whom he worked. The list of Taylor's victims is expected to grow into the hundreds with the total Ponzi scheme losses reaching tens of millions of dollars.
Victims of Taylor's alleged crimes include devout Christians whose clergy invited Taylor into their houses of worship to deliver sermons and financial seminars, and who lost their life savings after being solicited from the pulpit. Taylor has refused public entreaties to return victims' money, some of which went toward gaming devices that were installed without permits in several states and subsequently shut down by police as illegal gambling operations.
SOURCE Lerman Law Firm