Gaylen Rust and his family stole about $300 million from unsuspecting investors and dutifully paid tithing on their ill gotten gains.
As part of the recovery of the stolen funds the court sought to recover charitable contributions. As a result, the Corporation of the church of jesus christ of latter-day saints, agreed to return nearly $2.4 million. The money will be returned to the investors. Minus of course attorney fees.
TSCC encourages its members to tithe on any fraudulent gains they get. As long as they give the church it’s 10% cut, they will overlook their criminality and give them temple recommends. Unless it’s made public enough that the PR changes the game. But giving back the drop in a bucket, compared to the billions they have, when they are ordered to is worth it to overlook the money they know they are getting due to fraud. A big time crook who is fined millions by the government for fraudulent business practices, but gives TSCC its cut never misses a kids’ temple wedding as people who can’t come up with the dues because they’re struggling to support their families have to.
Paying tithing on Ponzi scheme "earnings" makes it oh so much easier for the perpetrators to convince themselves that what they are doing is not illegal. This will give them a deep sense of self confidence which helps pull off the scam.
Further, this was affinity fraud. If they pay tithing on the ill-gotten gains, presumably a ward clerk and bishop will know. Even if they don't say anything directly, they will treat the scammers like really righteous rich people, and ward members will notice, and switch on the obsequious charm, hoping to cash in too.
There's a reason it's called a confidence game, and the perp is called a con man.