CNBC's American Greed Spotlights Ponzi Scheme Mastermind Ephren Taylor, Brought to Justice by Lerman Law Firm

The latest episode of CNBC’s American Greed focused on how fraudster Ephren Taylor scammed more than 400 churchgoers out of millions of dollars until he was exposed by Lerman Law firm with assistance from strategic communications firm Red Banyan. Affinity fraud, especially among religious groups, is rampant, but this case proved that it can be stopped and the perpetrators brought to justice through a coordinated litigation and media strategy.

“Ephren Taylor would never have been caught and convicted without a robust legal strategy paired with a savvy media strategy,” said Lerman. “We were honored to partner with Red Banyan. They are a world-class organization and there is nobody better at what they do."

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (PRWEB) September 11, 2018

The downfall of financial scammer Ephren Taylor, triggered in part by the legal and media pressure placed on him by Lerman Law Firm (Cathy Jackson Lerman, P.A.) and strategic PR partner Red Banyan, was the focus of this week’s episode of CNBC’s hit show American Greed. Aired on September 10, the episode highlights Taylor’s ruthless scam, which bilked over 400 victims for tens of millions of dollars and ultimately landed him in prison for nearly two decades.

Before his arrest and conviction, Taylor portrayed himself as a socially conscious investor and the youngest African American CEO of a publicly traded company. But his “Building Wealth” tour at churches across the country was just a Ponzi scheme designed to build his personal wealth. The Lerman Law Firm, which represented more than 200 people scammed by Taylor, worked hand-in-hand with Red Banyan, a leading national PR and strategic communications agency, to expose Ephren’s fraudulent behavior and ultimately secure justice for the victims, who were awarded $15.6 million in restitution.

“I want to thank ‘American Greed’ for doing this story, which should be a warning to everyone that if someone is trying to sell you an investment from the pulpit, there is something very wrong,” said Cathy Lerman, Principal of Lerman Law Firm. “Ephren Taylor was a sociopath and master manipulator who used the faith of his targets to steal their life savings.”

Leveraging the power of the press, Red Banyan played a key role in supporting the legal strategy by sparking press interest in Taylor’s Ponzi scheme and unmasking the carefully contrived and false image that he had previously developed. As Red Banyan worked with enterprising investigative reporters to uncover the facts, hundreds of additional victims came forward to provide new information and to join the legal efforts against the perpetrator. Ultimately, the Lerman Law Firm pursued class action lawsuits against Taylor and his cohorts and facilitators with dozens of plaintiffs from nearly all 50 states.

“Ephren Taylor would never have been caught and convicted without a robust legal strategy paired with a savvy media strategy,” said Lerman. “We were honored to partner with Red Banyan. They are a world-class organization and there is nobody better at what they do. Red Banyan expertly managed press outreach to amplify our efforts and alert potential victims before they could fall prey to Taylor and his cynical and heartless scams.”

The Lerman Law Firm remains available to assist victims of similar schemes and affinity frauds, and to counsel religious leaders on methods for curtailing this type of fraud.

About the Lerman Law Firm

The Lerman Law Firm, provides legal services in a variety of diverse business and legal matters to individuals, companies, and business owners/entrepreneurs. The firm is committed to providing its clients with aggressive, ethical and cost-effective legal services backed by over 30 years of legal experience. The Lerman Law Firm website may be found at http://www.lermanfirm.com.

About Red Banyan

Red Banyan is a top public relations agency with clients across the country and internationally. With offices in Florida, Washington, D.C. and Texas, Red Banyan combines a substantive understanding of complex issues with the experience and skills needed to execute campaigns that deliver results. Specializing in crisis communications, corporate public relations, government relations, and legal PR, Red Banyan provides an integrated approach to communications rooted in strategy. Learn more at http://www.redbanyan.com, become a fan on the Red Banyan Facebook page and follow the firm on Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.

LERMAN LAW FIRM ANNOUNCES INVESTIGATION OF HAWK SYSTEMS, INC. AND ITS SUBSIDIARY AND AFFILIATE COMPANIES

 

Investor Alert: Lerman Law Firm Announces Investigation of Hawk Systems, Inc. and Subsidiary and Affiliate Companies  

Companies Being Investigated Include Hawk Systems, Inc., Hawk Biometric Technologies, Inc., Hawk Biometrics of Canada, Inc., Fist Enterprises, LLC, Auto Secure, Inc., Auto Secure USA, Inc., and Secure Start USA, LLC

February 14, 2018 11:58 ET | Source: Lerman Law Firm

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., Feb. 14, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- On the heels of a detailed exposé in the New York Daily News by reporter Larry McShane entitled “Wall Street trader, NFL players hit hard by ‘untouchable’ $4M mob-linked scheme” about the fraudulent schemes of penny stock company HAWK SYSTEMS, INC (“HAWK”), trading under the symbol HWSY, the Lerman Law Firm (Cathy Jackson Lerman, P.A.), has initiated an investigation into the activities of HAWK and its subsidiaries and affiliated companies. All companies are headquartered in Palm Beach County, Florida and include: Hawk Biometric Technologies, Inc., Hawk Biometrics of Canada, Inc., FIST Enterprises, LLC, Auto Secure, Inc., Auto Secure USA, Inc. and Secure Start USA, LLC.

The Lerman Law Firm is investigating information published in the New York Daily News’ article surrounding a biometric fingerprint identification device patent that HAWK purportedly owned, which was allegedly nothing but a scam to entice unwitting investors, including the elderly, into investing their hard-earned money and even life savings in HAWK. McShane’s article states that “there was no production, no product, no patent” and that HAWK had losses of $22 million and while only reporting an alleged $5570 in sales. Investor proceeds were said to have gone to pay for the lavish lifestyles of top HAWK executives and not into HAWK to actually produce a saleable product.

This article has raised vital questions as to why HAWK is still trading and how the alleged scam is continuing through the Hawk-affiliated companies. The Lerman Law Firm is investigating whether other investors have fallen victim to the same “patent” scam through these companies.

“One of the elderly HAWK victims stated that the principals behind HAWK, who perpetrated the initial scam, are ‘untouchable.’ That is a sad, but not surprising, statement about law enforcement and regulatory agencies in Florida,” stated Cathy Lerman, principal of the Lerman Law Firm. “We intend to get to the truth about the operation of these companies and help any other victims/investors obtain justice. No one is or should be above the law.”

If you are an investor in one or more of the named companies, wish to provide information to assist the Lerman Law Firm in its investigation, or are a potential whistleblower, please contact Cathy Lerman at clerman@lermanfirm.com  or (954) 332-1143.

INVESTOR ALERT-LERMAN LAW FIRM ANNOUNCES INVESTIGATION OF HAWK SYSTEMS, INC. AND HAWK BIOMETRIC TECHNOLOGIES, INC.

 

March 20, 2017 10:00 ET | Source: Lerman Law Firm

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., March 20, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- In the wake of a detailed news report by Jeff Ostrowski of The Palm Beach Post titled “NFL Players Stung By Losses in West Palm Beach Company,” concerning penny stock company Hawk Systems, Inc. (“Hawk Systems”), trading under the symbol HWSY, the Lerman Law Firm (Cathy Jackson Lerman, P.A.), has initiated an investigation into the activities of Hawk Systems and its subsidiary, Hawk Biometric Technologies, Inc. (“Hawk Biometric”). 

The Lerman Law Firm is investigating claims that NFL players who became investors in Hawk were used to “bait” the elderly to invest in the company. In addition, the Lerman Law Firm has learned that some investors may have unknowingly purchased shares of stock in Hawk Systems or Hawk Biometric, which were never authorized, and were illegally issued and sold.

According to a press release issued by Mark Spanakos, who is the named Plaintiff in a shareholder derivative suit filed against Hawk Systems and others in Palm Beach County, millions of shares of Hawk stock are still trading.  Yet Hawk never made a profit and incurred millions of dollars in net losses.   

“What is probably most shocking is that no one in the state of Florida, including the Attorney General Pam Bondi, law enforcement, the SEC, the IRS or the FBI has to date done anything to help these investors/victims.  We need to find out what happened to the millions of dollars of investor money, and determine if Hawk Systems or Hawk Biometric stock was illegally sold, or if elderly investors were illegally targeted,” stated Cathy Lerman, principal of the Lerman Law Firm.

If you currently own stock in Hawk Systems or Hawk Biometric and wish to obtain additional information about the investigation or wish to provide information to assist in the Lerman firm’s investigation, please contact Cathy Lerman via email at clerman@lermanfirm.com or by telephone at (954) 332-1143.

 

Related Articles

other press releases by Lerman Law Firm

 

Lerman Law Firm Issues Nationwide Alert on Fraud and Financial Exploitation of Florida Residents, Especially the Elderly

January 03, 2017 10:00

Lerman Law Firm Issues Nationwide Elder Financial Exploitation Alert of Ponzi Schemes Touting NFL Players as Current Investors

March 03, 2016 10:00

 

 

 

 

FDA APPROVES ETEPLIRSEN FOR PATIENTS WITH DUCHENNE MUSCULAR DYSTROPHY

We want to share with you the video of the late Ricky Tsang who passed away recently after suffering with Ducenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) for over 30 years.  This is a You Tube video that Ricky did to Janet Woodcock, FDA director of the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, concerning accelerated approval for Eteplirsen, a new drug that treats DMD, after the FDA Advisory Committee voted not to accelerate approval. 

While this video is heartbreaking, it is also an education about rare diseases and how rare disease patients suffer.  Ricky discusses the devastation caused by DMD which causes its victims to progressively lose their muscular abilities and results in life-threatening heart and respiratory conditions. Most DMD patients die in their 20's or 30's.   Here is a link to Ricky's video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NUjJEHmkEUg

Etepliren is made by Sarepta Therapeutics in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Lerman Law Firm is proud to join with thousands of rare disease patients and advocates in aggressively promoting both the use of orphan drugs and the plight of rare disease patients who need those drugs NOW.  By working with Congress, the NIH, the FDA, and the pharma and biotech industry, we can accelerate the time to market of life-saving and life-changing drugs such as Eteplirsen. 

Candace Lerman, who is the Lerman Law Firm's Director of Advocacy for rare disease patients and our liaison with the biotech and pharma industry, is also a rare disease patient who used an Orphan drug to put her disease into remission.  While Candace still has multiple other health issues, her experience has convinced us that all patients deserve that opportunity.  For more information about Candace Lerman and our legislative advocacy on behalf of rare disease patients and the promotion of Orphan drugs see her blog at RareCandace.com.

We thank Director Woodcock for her accelerated approval of Eteplirsen and we look forward to similar approvals for other Orphan drugs in the pipeline.