Saturday, July 21, 2012

American Greed - "Preying On Faith"

Black people are 100% Equal to all other people.
I record various people getting taken each week on "American Greed".

The episode above featuring Black churches preys on the same vulnerabilties faced by everyone:  Greed and the notion that "If Its Too Good To Be True It Probably Is" is for the next guy because "Jesus is on my side".

This group of "White" charities got beat for $100M in Philadelphia.  I am not attempting to make the case that Black people are uniquely vulnerable to confidence schemes.   The only point to be made is that Black people, on average don't have the funds that these others do and thus greater harm comes to those who don't have much to start with in the first place.  The unique element of the Black community are the special "hooks" that are used to snare Black people and those who have mastered how to use them.

Selling Black people on a vision of a future in which they are lifted out of their present pit of oppression is key.

The use of the Black church for a confidence scheme is troubling.   The church is a place where a group of people congregate as the preacher seeks to strip away their standard defense mechanisms as they are asked to walk by faith.

When one preacher affirmed the reliability of the program that asked that they pay in $3,000 and get back up to $500,000 in support of their desire to build a new church building - the PASTOR'S own vision of having a church building of his own overtook the skepticism that should have brought the scheme to a crashing end.

The con man was able to capture $9 million from a variety of Black churches.  He told them that faith would pay their bills and support their vision for an expanded church home to grow their mission.
He used the well worn trick of blaming someone else for disrupting his intention money distribution plans.  The congregation initially tuned into this message because it is a popular theme within the Black community.

In this case, as with so many others - the lack of INSTITUTIONAL INTEGRITY ENFORCEMENT which allowed "Your Eyes Are Bigger Than Your Stomach" to draw people in to the scam resulted in severed relationships throughout the church community.

The "Partner" Concept
I know from first hand experience that Caribbean Americans do "Partners".  Koreans do the same.
Basically a group of friends agree to put a defined amount of money into a shared pool, paid monthly.   As the cycle of payouts goes around - each person receives a lump sum payment to do as they please.  By the time the cycle has completed everyone has gotten the money they put in back.  It does not promise you more money than you put it.  It is only a forced savings plan.

If you think mobsters lean on you when you owe them money - you have never seen the tactics used by the Caribbean woman charged with collecting the money each month.  You had BETTER have your money ready or you had better go borrow it from someone.  (I'm only teasing).

Some Korean churches in America have a similar scheme except they receive upwards of $50, 000 in a payout and use this to start up retail ventures.  This is not a slight at the Black church as many of them have constructed church buildings and community centers using "The Church Building Fund" - all of which are an example of "Cooperative Economics".

If these pastors who got burned had put aside their greed for a second and instead chose to do a "Local Partner" they might have tempered their lust for quick "magic money" and instead built a new church on a sound foundation.

Of course - I still say - the greatest fraud scheme ever is the Federal Reserve System which creates trillions in magic money to allow Americans to live a standard of living that their net productive output can no longer support.

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