How do religious shysters build entire financial empires? Why do they get away with running obvious Ponzi schemes for years on end, while no one appears to ask them any hard questions?
Cathy Lerman, a Florida lawyer who is representing several victims of religious fraudster Ephren Taylor (sometimes dubbed “the black Bernie Madoff”), offers at least part of the answer:
“Religious-affinity fraud is quite common, but it’s not discussed inside the church, and that’s one of the problems. No one wants to admit that it occurs, and that’s how [Taylor] did this for so long. A lot of these people were ashamed, or they felt from a religious standpoint that what happens in the church stays in the church, and you don’t go telling anybody and you don’t have him arrested and you don’t do anything.”
“Who would dream that someone would come into your church and use your faith as a weapon to steal?” said Lerman. “All of them believed that they were the only ones; they thought they had been stupid.”
From 2007 to 2010, Taylor gave “Wealth Tour Live” seminars in churches around the country.