A self-described “social capitalist” who has appeared on national TV talk shows was charged on Thursday with fraud by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for an alleged $11 million Ponzi scheme that targeted socially conscious churchgoers.
The SEC said Ephren Taylor II fraudulently sold $7 million of notes, said to bear 12 percent to 20 percent annual interest rates, to fund small businesses such as laundries, juice bars and gas stations.
It said Taylor, 29, also raised $4 million by selling “sweepstakes” machines loaded with casino-style games, with promised returns of 72 percent to 2,400 percent per year. The SEC said Taylor’s company, City Capital Corp, would promise to donate some revenue to charity.
In reality, according to the complaint filed in Atlanta federal court, Taylor diverted money to promote his books, hire image consultants, fund his wife’s singing career a nd pay bi lls.