United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates
Northern District of Georgia
Ephren Taylor, II, Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Fraud
ATLANTA – Ephren Taylor, II, has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud by defrauding hundreds of victims of their retirement savings.
“Taylor’s guilty plea brings a measure of justice for the hundreds of his victims, including those hard-working Georgians who lost their life savings to his criminal scheme,” said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates.
“Mr. Taylor exploited numerous investors by perpetrating a scheme that was based entirely on lies,” stated Special Agent in Charge Veronica Hyman-Pillot, IRS Criminal Investigation. “Mr. Taylor’s guilty plea today is an opportunity for him to admit to the deception and face the consequences of his actions.”
“The United States Secret Service is aggressive in our investigative mission to arrest those who commit financial crimes. In this case, we were particularly resolved to bring to justice a criminal who chose to take advantage of unsuspecting members of the public in environments of reverence and trust,” said Reginald G. Moore, Special Agent in Charge of the United States Secret Service, Atlanta Field Office.
According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges and other information presented in court: From at least April 2009 through October 2010, Ephren Taylor, II, then CEO of City Capital Corporation, and his co-defendant Wendy Connor, the former COO of City Capital Corporation, participated in a conspiracy to defraud investors. In pleading guilty, Taylor acknowledged that he defrauded hundreds of investors of more than $7 million nationwide. In a separate hearing, co-defendant Wendy Connor also pleaded guilty to interstate transportation of money taken by fraud.
As part of the scheme, Taylor traveled around the country on a “Building Wealth Tour,” where he gave wealth management seminars to church congregations. During this tour, Taylor claimed to be a socially conscious investor and falsely claimed that 20% of profits were donated to charity. One of the churches on the “Building Wealth Tour” was the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Ga. While there, Taylor and Connor met potential investors to discuss possible investments. Over 80 individuals from Georgia lost more than $2 million because of Taylor’s scheme.
The investments pushed by Taylor included investing in promissory notes, where the funds invested would be used to support small businesses, such as laundries, juice bars, and gas stations. Taylor falsely represented the revenues and returns for these businesses knowing that they were not profitable.
Taylor also pushed an investment in sweepstakes machines. Sweepstakes machines are computers loaded with various games that allow players to win cash prizes. Taylor published offering materials that falsely claimed the average sweepstakes machine would generate 300% investor returns. He also stated that the sweepstakes machine investments were 100% risk free.
Taylor knew that the investments he was touting were not profitable and that investors were not receiving actual returns from their investments.
The sentencing for Ephren Taylor, 32, of Overland Park, Kan., is scheduled for December 18, 2014, at 2:30 p.m. Wendy Connor, 45, of Raleigh, N.C., is scheduled to be sentenced on December 18, 2014, at 9:30 a.m.
This case is being investigated by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation and the United States Secret Service.
Assistant United States Attorney Christopher J. Huber is prosecuting the case.
For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the home page for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia Atlanta Division is http://www.justice.gov/usao/gan/.