Bishop Eddie Long is facing negative headlines once again. This time he’s being sued by 12 of his former congregants who claim he encouraged them to invest in a company that turned out to be an alleged Ponzi scheme, reports the Washington Post.
The group came forward and filed a lawsuit in DeKalb County late last month claiming they lost more than $1 million dollars after investing with Long’s “friend” and businessman Ephren W. Taylor. Long’s assistant was allegedly informed of Taylor’s shady business dealings.
A statement from the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church says the church remains optimistic that Taylor will return the money. “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 country. We continue to cooperate as the case proceeds.”
Jason Doss, the attorney for the group suing told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “If Bishop Eddie Long hadn’t endorsed this they wouldn’t have invested.”
The Securities and Exchange Commission said they formerly charged Taylor with running a Ponzi scheme in 2012. A civil case is also pending against the alleged crook. According to the SEC, Taylor promised to use the funds to invest in economically depressed areas and used the money for himself and to pay off other people. “He preyed upon investors’ faith and their desire to help others, convincing them that they could earn healthy returns while also helping their communities,” said David Woodcock, director of the SEC’s Fort Worth Regional Office in Texas.