By EEW Magazine News Staff
1 John 4:1 says, “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God.” There are shady characters in the world that prey on those who are gullible and overly-trusting.
This is precisely what happened in the Eddie Long Ponzi scheme saga that has landed the troubled mega pastor on the other end of a lawsuit.
According to Atlanta Journal-Constitution, a dozen former members of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Ga., filed suit in DeKalb County court in late January. They say Bishop’s Long’s assistant had already been warned that businessman Ephren W. Taylor was running a $3 million capital deficit.
Taylor was a financial advisor, claiming to have made his first million before he turned 18, and promised he could do the same for his fellow Christian brothers and sisters.
After Long introduced the businessman as his "friend," the former New Birth members lost more than $1 million investing with the self-described "social capitalist."
The swindled group believes they should have been made privy to the insider knowledge of Taylor’s shadiness. But they were not, which has resulted in a loss totaling more than $1 million.
Before the smooth-talking con artist was unleashed on the unsuspecting congregation, Long told New Birth members during his introduction of Taylor, "I am responsible for everyone I bring before you and what they say."
"If Bishop Eddie Long hadn't endorsed this they wouldn't have invested," Jason Doss, attorney for the former members, told the Journal-Constitution.
"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.
Long’s endorsement is now coming back to bite him.
"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 county," New Birth said in a statement. "We continue to cooperate as the case proceeds."