I met Ephren at my home congregation several years ago. I was convinced that he was a legitimate business man and brother in Christ who would help me invest my hard earned 403B money when I changed jobs. I entrusted 16,000$ to him in hopes that I would get a good return. Needless to say, my money is gone. About 2 years after my initial investment I was offered the "opportunity to turn my investment into stock." The "deal" that they were running at that time was a 2 for 1. I was offered 2 shares for every 1 dollar invested. I was even called on several occasions by Emerson Brantly (Ephren's PR person) and told that this offer was only on the table for a short while and was designed for people who were origional investors. Being the gullible person that I was, I took the bate. I never recieved any information about returns, money earned or anything. I was able to speak to Ephren personally on occasion because he was a friend of a friend. Every time I would inquire, I was told not to worry and that money was definately being made on by behalf. Every time I tried to reach someone in the office, I had to leave a message. When someone did get back to me, I was given the run around. I never received any money or straight answers.
Now it is 2010, I know that I will never get my money back. I don't however want to feel completly powerless. After discussing the matter with my husband, I decided to file a report with the White Coller division of the FBI. Although the thought of doing that was a bit daunting, I believed in my heart that other people were probably getting scammed with his new ventures. In filing my report, I was asked by the agent if I knew of anyone else who was taken advantage of. The agent also told me that filing a complaint with the SEC would not be as effective. Apparently, companies can pass all of the SEC inspections (Bernie Madoff) and still take advantage of unsuspecting consumers. I think that 250,000$ has to be lost for the FBI to launch a full fledged investigation. I have not lost that personally, but adding up all the money that was lost by everyone in any of his ventures should cover that and more. If you feel as though you were scammed, do something about it. It dosen't matter what state you are in. You too have the power to file a complaint. If things are legitimate with Ephren then he has nothing to worry about. If they are not, maybe the authorities can stop him before too many other people become victims.