City Capital Corp. and two former executives operated an $11 million Ponzi scheme that targeted socially conscious investors in church settings, according to charges by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Ephren W. Taylor II, age 29, lured investors into two investment programs being offered through City Capital by making numerous false statements, according to the SEC. City Capital is a Nevada corporation with its last-known headquarters in Cypress, California. Taylor was the chief executive and chairman until he suddenly resigned on Oct. 22, 2010. He resided in New York City, but his current whereabouts are unknown.
The SEC claims Mr. Taylor and City Capital sold promissory notes to purportedly fund various small businesses and interests in so-called sweepstakes machines. Taylor allegedly promised investors high rates of return and told them their money would be used charitable purposes and to help disadvantaged businesses. In reality, Taylor misappropriated investors’ money to publish and promote his books, hire public imaging consultants, and fund his wife’s singing career, according to the SEC.
Also charged was City Capital’s former operating chief Wendy Jean Connor, who left the company in November 2010.
Taylor and City Capital raised more than $11 million from hundreds of investors nationwide between 2008 and 2010, and used the money to pay other investors, meet Taylor’s personal expenses, and fund City Capital’s payroll, rent, and other costs, according to the SEC.
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