Investors accuse Bishop Eddie Long's megachurch of fraud conspiracy
(CBS/WGCL/AP) LITHONIA, Ga. - Embattled megachurch pastor Bishop Eddie Long is facing more legal troubles. Ten former members of Long's New Birth Missionary Baptist Church who attended investment seminars hosted by the church say they lost their retirement savings, and they're suing the pastor and New Birth for conspiring to defraud them.
The ex-members say Long used his power as a pastor to get them to invest in the financially troubled City Capital Corp., reports CBS affiliate WGCL.
The plaintiffs said in a lawsuit that in 2009, Long invited Ephren Taylor, then CEO of the company, to speak at New Birth, and that Taylor told members how they could get rich. Instead, the plaintiffs said they lost all of their money.
U.S. Secret Service spokesman Mark Ritchie says agents have seized laptops from employees at New Birth in Lithonia, Ga.
One church member, Lillian Wells, says she lost $122,000, her entire life savings.
"[Taylor] knew what he was doing and it was one more plot to get money from us," Wells told WGCL.
New Birth's spokesman Art Franklin declined to comment.
Long has previously been accused of luring young men into sexual relationships when they were enrolled in New Birth's ministry for teen boys. He reached an out-of-court settlement with four accusers.