In the US, crooks are drawn to religion like flies to honey. The combination of not having to pay taxes or even open up their books for close scrutiny, combined with a population that is both needy and highly gullible, provides an irresistible attraction for frauds and conmen.
When I drive through the poor black neighborhoods of Cleveland, the most depressing sight is the prevalence of storefront churches and payday lenders. While some of the small churches may be providing some benefits in terms of providing a sense of community for a struggling population, the bigger black megachurch pastors are ripping off their parishioners in the same grand style as white megachurch pastors, except that they are usually exploiting very poor people out of money they desperately need for the basics of life, by preaching to them the ‘Gospel of Prosperity’ where they are told that if they give to the church their god will give them more in return. These pastors are scum. (For more about them see here and here.)
There is apparently a new documentary called Black Church, Inc. documenting these abuses. Here’s the trailer.