US Justice Dept. Announces Arrest of ‘Building Wealth Tour’ Leader on Fraud Charges
(ATLANTA) -- The U.S. Justice Department announced the arrest of Ephren Taylor, II, the leader of the "Building Wealth Tour," on Tuesday on fraud charges.
"Mr. Taylor came into our community, promising hard-working citizens a way to make their retirement money go farther," said U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates, "the investments he pitched proved to be worthless, along with his promises." Taylor and his co-defendant Wendy Connor, the former COO of Capital City Corporation -- a company that Taylor was CEO of -- allegedly participated in a conspiracy to defraud investors.
According to the DOJ, hundreds of investors were schemed out of over $5 million. The "Building Wealth Tour" was part of the scheme, during which Taylor claimed to be a "socially conscious investor" and told investors that 20 percent of profits were donated to charity. That tour focused largely on church congregations.
Among the investments Taylor touted were promissory notes for businesses that he allegedly knew were not profitable, but presented them as having higher revenues and returns then in reality and investments in sweepstakes machines that he is accused of knowing were not profitable.
Investors gave their money to Taylor in the form of self-directed IRAs. Taylor allegedly directed the money to pay off his own business debts and in some cases to pay off earlier investors.
Taylor was indicted on June 10. The U.S. Secret Service and the Internal Revenue Service are leading the investigation.
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