Reagan said 'trust but verify'. It applies well to religious giving as well:
Billions of dollars have 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.
"The size and the scope of the fraud is getting larger," said Patricia Struck, president of the securities association and administrator of the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions, Division of Securities. "The scammers are getting smarter and the investors don't ask enough questions because of the feeling that they can be safe in church."
Yes, you should be able to trust in such situations, but if money is involved the crooks will show up. And if money is involved, even the faithful can be tempted.
At the congregation I attend the weekly contribution is counted by two to three men who are not the treasurer before it is handed over to him. The treasurer posts a monthly list of income and expenditures for all to see. The ultimate protection for everyone is complete financial transparency.
The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.