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Former CEO accused of targeting churchgoers
Lawsuits contend former chief executive targeted religious investors in Sunday sermons
By The Associated Press

ATLANTA (AP) ' A fast-rising businessman is accused of swindling worshippers in mostly black churches out of millions of dollars.

Ephren Taylor is at the center of two separate lawsuits filed this month in Georgia and North Carolina. He's accused of convincing ministers to give him the Sunday pulpit, and then luring churchgoers with false promises of guaranteed returns.

The lawsuits claim Taylor was running a complex Ponzi scheme.

Taylor criticized his detractors in a statement and compared himself to other financial heavyweights who were "crucified" amid the economic downturn.

The Secret Service and Georgia Secretary of the State's office say they're investigating Taylor. No criminal charges have been filed.

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