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Christian Ponzi Schemer's Megachurch Scam Preyed on Faithful

29-year-old Ephren Taylor is the latest Christian ponzi schemer make the news for using the faithful and trusting to bilk what the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) says was $11 million from churchgoers in a massive ponzi scheme.
But even on initial first glance, the case appears to have depressing parallels with that of notorious and wide-scale “affinity fraud” perpetrator Bernie Madoff, who similarly preyed on Jewish organizations, charities and hospitals- Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel’s organization lost more than $15 million to the scam before it was uncovered and Madoff was thrown in jail.

It would appear Christian ponzi schemer Ephren Taylor highlights a growing need to warn churchgoers about the dangers of mixing money and faith- and indeed, looking at Taylor’s own words as the fraud was perpetrated illustrates how religious groups and megachurch-goers are sitting ducks for potential fleecing. As Taylor was introduced to his Baptist congregation in Atlanta, celebrity pastor Eddie Long told congregants:

“Everything he says is based on the word of God. We’re going to show you how to get wealth and use it for the building of his kingdom.”

Even in their financial devastation, however, victims of the Christian ponzi schemer find comfort in faith. One of the victims, Gary Dorio, explains:

“It’s not the easiest thing to do, but we live by what the word of god says. And we have to forgive Ephren. We have come to a place where we’ve forgiven him. We pray for him, his family.”

The SEC has published guidelines to avoid Christian ponzi schemers (and non-affiliated ones) that you can review here if an investment opportunity appears too good to be true.


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