Eddie Long, the legally embattled bishop of Atlanta-based New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, has been sued by 10 members of his 25,000-strong congregation for allegedly coercing them into investing in a million-dollar Ponzi scheme, it emerged Wednesday.

The case involving Long is one of the highest-profile accusations to date of so-called religious affinity fraud, in which potential investors are targeted through a faith-based organization, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Affinity fraud, as explained by the website Malecki Law, a company specializing in investment cases, is defined as fraud specifically committed against members of a unified group.

“Examples include schemes that target the elderly (often within the same community), religious institutions, persons of a particular ethnicity, or professional organizations,” the website states. “Fraud is often committed by one who indoctrinates into the group in question, by convincing community leaders and other members that a crooked investment is legitimate.”

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