One of the ten members of Bishop Eddie Long's New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Atlanta, Ga., who suffered from the pyramid scheme allegedly backed by the charismatic senior pastor told a local news station that she blames Long’s suspected partner, businessman Ephren Taylor, for the scam.
Lillian Wells also said that she would not have invested any money at all in Taylor’s (apparently illegal) company, had he not had Long's backing.
“I think he [Taylor] knew what he was doing all along and just was there for a farce. It was all false," Wells said in an interview with Atlanta’s Channel 2 in late October.
Wells also told the station that Taylor, whom Long endorsed, assured the victimized church members on several occasions that the investments were safe and would provide guaranteed income.
It turned out that Taylor and his company were not licensed to sell investments or render investment advice in Georgia, Channel 2 reported.
The victimized church members filed a joint civil suit on Oct. 19 against the megachurch pastor for losing nearly $1 million total in the alleged Ponzi scheme.
Long and New Birth reportedly marketed, sponsored and hosted "Wealth Tour Live" seminars in Oct. 2009. It was through these seminars that congregants were encouraged to invest in a scheme that promised 20 percent yearly returns.
Instead of getting returns on their investments, claimants allege that their money was instead diverted to a failing company.
Taylor, the 29-year-old CEO of holding company City Capital who was often a guest at New Birth, is facing two lawsuits filed this month, in which he is accused of targeting worshipers and being a con artist in at least five states on the East Coast since 2004, allegedly swindling tens of millions of dollars through investment fraud.
Here is Channel 2's news report on the Bishop Eddie Long Scandal involving businessman Ephren Taylor: