LET'S SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT ON JEFF NEMES AND RENUEN (RENU)-THERE IS NO MONEY FOR THE VICTIMS

THERE IS NO VIABLE CLASS ACTION SUIT ON RENUEN.  JEFF NEMES AND HIS WIFE, LYNN NEMES, AND HIS CRONIES HAVE ALREADY BLOWN THREW ALL OF THE MONEY FROM THE VICTIMS AND INVESTORS. DO NOT BE FOOLED INTO THINKING THAT A CLASS ACTION SUIT IS COMING AND YOU WILL BE COMPENSATED FOR WHATEVER MONIES YOU GAVE OR INVESTED IN RENUEN.

THIS IS  A CLASSIC PONZI SCHEME.  NEMES IS RUNNING OUT OF MONEY. YOU DON'T SUE PEOPLE WHO DON'T HAVE THE MONEY THEY TOOK FROM YOU- THAT IS A WASTE OF TIME-YOU PUT THEM IN JAIL!

 

OUR LAW FIRM IN COOPERATION WITH SEVERAL WITNESSES, WHISTLE BLOWERS AND LAW ENFORCEMENT ARE WORKING TO PUT NEMES AND HIS CRIMINAL TEAM BEHIND BARS.  BUT DON'T BE FOOLED INTO BELIEVING THAT THERE IS SOME BIG PAY DAY COMING FOR THE RENUEN VICTIMS.  WHATEVER MONEY NEMES, HIS WIFE. AND HIS COHORTS HAVE STOLEN IS LONG GONE.

THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE-WHY YOU SHOULD BE A WHISTLEBLOWER

Over the last week since our Nightline show aired on the Ephren Taylor/City Capital Ponzi Scheme Class Action Suit we have received a lot of helpful information on our class action lawsuits as well as other potential cases.  But what I want to address today is something I have discussed privately with some of the Nightline viewers who contacted me and wanted to discuss their situation namely, the knowledge that their employer was conducting a fraudulent scheme or Ponzi scheme and they were afraid to come forward and disclose it. I fully appreciate that apprehension and applaud the whistleblowers who have come forward publicly to stop fraud. Because of my concern about the proliferation of Ponzi schemes being perpetrated in this country and the apparent inability of regulators and law enforcement to stem the tide of these crimes (for the most part through no fault of their own), it is time for the average citizen to step up and facilitate reporting of these crimes so the perpetrator can be stopped.  I understand there are significant concerns about doing so and therefore wanted to provide the same advice I have provided to to other potential whistleblowers who were unsure of what to do in order to do the right thing but also protect themselves.

If you know your employer is committing a fraud and you do nothing about it then in my opinion you become part of the criminal enterprise. Let's turn the tables.  If you were the victim instead of the whistleblower and you lost your money in a Ponzi scheme, wouldn't you want the people who were getting paid to keep the scheme going held responsible if they knew they were aiding a fraud but continued to do it anyway without telling anyone?  I certainly would. So what should you do if you are a potential whistleblower?

I will tell you:

1. The truth will set you free.  If you know your employer is committing a fraud on its customers/clients or third parties such as governmental agencies you walk around with a lot of guilt.  That is because you know you should do something.  I get that.  Doing something to report a Ponzi scheme or fraudulent activities will eliminate that guilt and also establish that you did not intend to perpetuate the fraud. It will also permit you to sleep at night.

2. Reporting Options.  Depending on the type of fraud, there are a multitude of options for reporting fraud to regulatory agencies both state and federal.  For example, in the case of Ponzi Schemes you can report such activity to the FBI, SEC or your state securities regulatory agency.  If you are aware of governmental contractor fraud and wish to file a Qui Tam action which is a special kind of whistleblower law suit, you can contact an attorney who specializes in that area or your state attorney general. In most cases these agencies have hotlines or other methods of anonymous reporting that permit you to provide information without disclosing your identity. Just Google the agency you are looking for and their website will provide you with all the information you need to provide an anonymous disclosure.

In addition, you could report fraudulent activity to an attorney that you know and trust and ask for their advice on how to proceed. If you don't know an attorney, then contact the state bar association in the state where you reside and they can direct you to an attorney who practices in the appropriate area of law.

There are several options for a whistleblower to report fraudulent activities without having to reveal their identity.  I urge you, if you are reading this blog and know your employer is committing a fraud, to take action to disclose it so that it can be stopped.  It is only through this method of "private policing" that we can stem the tide of fraudulent schemes that are stealing the money of innocent victims daily.

No one knows how many Ponzi schemes are actually initiated each year in the United States.  But I can assure you the number is staggering.  There are several reasons for that.  First, regulators are understaffed to deal with the magnitude of this problem in this difficult economic climate.  There is simply not enough money to fund the manpower needed. Secondly, these crimes for the most part go unnoticed unless reported by the victims and then it is generally too late because by the time the victims become aware that they are the victims of a fraudulent enterprise the scheme has run out of money and the fraudulent enterprise has crumbled.  Third, not enough insiders with knowledge of the crimes report the fraudulent schemes to the appropriate authorities so that they can be investigated and stopped.

I cannot do anything about the first and second roadblocks to stopping fraudulent schemes.  But number three is certainly easy to address.  People just have to be willing to come forward and disclose a fraud being committed in front of them. It is that simple.  Those of you that I have spoken to and those of you reading this Blog-you know who you are-please do something to stop these crimes and help turn the tide on this escalating crime spree. And remember- The Truth Shall Set You Free.....

MESSAGE FOR CITY CAPITAL/EPHREN TAYLOR VICTIMS

The next status report on the litigation will be posted on this Blog the first week of April. Status reports are issued every 60 days. For those of you wanting to join the class, there is nothing you need to do this at this time and we do not need your investment information. Once the class is certified we will be gathering information for the remaining class members.

Due to the high volume of calls and emails we receive we are unable to call or email individuals at this time for status reports or individual claims. All information that you need will be posted periodically on this Blog. Please check this Blog periodically for announcements or further information. Thank you.

A Personal Note from Cathy Lerman to the Victims of the Ephren Taylor/City Capital Ponzi Scheme

I know there are many of you out there that I have not spoken to yet. So I am writing a message to you in my Blog today in hopes it will reach you. First of all, I want to tell you that you are not alone. There are, at least, over 500 of you. Secondly, you do not need to feel ashamed to come forward. There is no shame in investing your money with someone because you thought you would better your life and the life of your family as well as benefit your church, your community and the less fortunate. It is because of your goodness and faith that you made the investment with Ephren and his companies. That is certainly nothing to be ashamed of. I have been writing a series of articles about religious affinity frauds. Many of them are Ponzi schemes just like occurred in the City Capital matter. We know Ephren used many, many companies to hide, transfer and divert investor funds. We know neither Ephren nor any of his employees or shell companies were licensed or registered to sell securities or "investments." We know many of the "investments" were fake, severely undervalued, or never actually made. We know Ephren Taylor had A LOT of help. Those persons and companies also will be held accountable.

We know that Ephren Taylor and his cohorts, as alleged in our Class Action complaint, targeted members of the Church of Christ as their victims. We believe Ephren targeted them because he was raised in the Church of Christ and his father, Ephren Taylor Senior, is a minister of a Church of Christ.

I want all of you to know that many, many people have reached out to me to help me help you. I have been provided valuable information to help our case, identify defendants and prove our allegations. I also have taken on the task of trying to turn a horrible crime into something good.

We are going to seek legislative changes to help curb some of the attractiveness of self-directed IRAs to Ponzi Schemers. We are going to educate church and religious leaders about religious affinity frauds so that this kind of crime does not happen again. There is an easy solution to this problem and we need to COMMUNICATE AND EDUCATE Christians, Jews and members of other religious sects about the characteristics of a religious affinity group fraud promoter.

We need to make everyone, regardless of their religious affiliation, aware of this type of crime so that they can be on guard. We need to provide religious leaders and organizations with the tools they need to detect a potential religious affinity group fraud promoter. We need the victims of religious affinity frauds to RAISE THEIR VOICE and be heard! It is much more difficult to perpetuate a crime when everyone is talking about it!

When I started this journey several months ago with a core group of Ephren Taylor/City Capital victims, I saw the devastation of some and the loss of faith in others resulting from this deplorable crime. But over time I also saw a group of people who did NOT let this situation define them, who overcame devastating losses and became stronger in their beliefs and as a person. At the end of this journey, I am certain that these victims will be victorious.

I will close with something I shared with some of the victims early on in the Ephren Taylor/City Capital litigation. As I wrote the complaint, I was at times overwhelmed by the magnitude of the loss, the insidious nature of the swindle, and the unadulterated attack on good, honest, hard-working believers. But Romans 12:21 kept going through my mind: "Do Not Be Overcome By Evil, But Overcome Evil With Good." I want all of you to know that you have my word that we are doing that.  May God bless you all! Cathy

Suggestions On How to Deter Religious Affinity Fraud

Having now spoken to hundreds of people who were swindled by a religious affinity fraud targeted at members of the Church of Christ, I wanted to set forth some suggestions that can be implemented by religious leaders and institutions to help deter and expose these kind of frauds. This list is not an exhaustive list of all possible actions that can be taken but these suggestions are based upon my experience and the information I have gleaned from speaking to many victims. I would encourage others to post additional suggestions or ideas that might be useful and, of course, always contact legal counsel for additional advice. I believe in most cases the minister, religious leader and/or leadership are victims of the religious affinity fraud just like their members.  It is highly unlikely that a religious leader would encourage or invite a fraudster into their organization so that they could dupe or swindle their own members since such actions would be clearly self-defeating to say the least.

Believing that they are encouraging the religious values and tenets of their church or religious group, many ministers, rabbis and other religious leaders provide the fraudster with unfettered access to their congregation, temple members, or religious sect thus unknowingly facilitating the religious affinity fraud or Ponzi scheme.

Below are some recommended processes and tools that religious leaders can use to detect and avoid a potential fraudulent scheme targeting members of a religious group:

1. Religious organizations can set clear, written standards that must be met before anyone can gain access to their members to promote anything regardless of whether it is a book, an investment, financial advice, or a tithing tool. These standards should include a very clear approval process by the church or religious sect leadership.

Most religious affinity fraudsters and Ponzi schemers "create" a reputation as a religious leader which they use to gain access to unwitting victims. Scrutiny of the individual or entity by the leadership of the regligious group may deter the fraudster and/or expose their scheme.

2. Religious organizations can also create a list of information that must be provided by a proposed speaker or claimed religious leader before they are given access to the congregation or members. This list can include such information as verified financial disclosures, a detailed background check of the individual and/or company, and multiple business references which may be checked.  All of this information should be reviewed, if at all possible, by an attorney.

3. It is likely that once a fraud promoter learns that they have to jump through numerous hoops to gain access to the members of the religious organization and that they have to go through a formal approval process, they will move on. The purpose of creating these processes and enhanced scrutiny is to make it more difficult for the fraudster to hide their true identity and intentions and also frustrate their efforts to gain access to the members of the targeted religious group. 4. It is  also strongly suggested that religious leaders educate their members about the characteristics of a religious affinity fraud to help stop fraud promoters for preying on these innocent victims. The more educated the public is about these types of fraud, the less likely it is that the fraudster will be successful.

We  all must be proactive in stopping religious affinity fraud and Ponzi schemes directed at churches or religious organizations.  By educating members of religious organizations about the characteristics of this type of fraud so that they remain vigilant to watch for these types of schemes hopefully we can deter future religious affinity fraud.

Our firm offers a free one hour consultation to church or religious leaders with questions or concerns about religious affinity fraud. Please contact me at clerman@lermanfirm.com to schedule a call.