Monday, August 14, 2006

Not Just A Good Business

God is a great business. AP (08.13.06)
"Billions of dollars has been stolen in religion-related fraud in recent years, according to the North American Securities Administrators Association, a group of state officials who work to protect investors. Between 1984 and 1989, about $450 million was stolen in religion-related scams, the association says. In its latest count — from 1998 to 2001 — the toll had risen to $2 billion. Rip-offs have only become more common since." Religion-Related Fraud Getting Worse
"Typically, a con artist will target the pastor first, by making a generous donation and appealing to the minister's desire to expand the church or its programs, according to Joseph Borg, director of the Alabama Securities Commission, who played a key role in breaking up the Greater Ministries scam." Unless of course the pastor ("'I had [an $824,000] lapse in judgment and I'm attempting to rectify it.'") is in ("The crime came to light after Montgomery pleaded guilty to another theft charge.") on the scam ("They then recruited poor, first-time buyers and drafted phony financial documents to obtain mortgages.). "If the pastor invests, churchgoers view it as a tacit endorsement. The con man, often promising double digit returns, will chip away at resistance among church members by suggesting they can donate part of their earnings to the congregation, Borg says." "Most folks think 'I'm going to invest in some overseas deal or real estate deal and part of that money is going to the church and I get part. I don't feel like I'm guilty of greed,'' Borg says." If someone asks too many questions, they play the trump card. "If a skeptical church member openly questions a deal, that person is often castigated for speaking against a fellow Christian." So how is it that these things are so successful? Not to cast aspersions, but let's check Wikipedia:
"Most confidence tricks exploit the greed and dishonesty of their victims. Often, the mark tries to out-cheat the con artist, only to discover that the mark has been manipulated into this from the start. This is such a general principle in confidence tricks that there is a saying among conmen that 'you can't cheat an honest man.'" Confidence trick
It also helps if you're really, really gullible.


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