What is your evidence that anybody who met Jesus was ever placed in a position to choose between being killed and recanting their teaching?
Nevertheless, the early Christian leaders were far from rich. The "retail deal" which ended up being fatal was not because the person refused to give money, the reason was because the person lied about not giving what he said he would. On the flipside, Paul is said to have spurned the money offered to travelling preachers (apparently it was a lucrative business). Instead he is said to have worked as a tent-maker to pay his way.
I've never seen the Godfather series, so I can't directly comment, but I get the meaning of why you posted. In short, I guess I would ask whether the early Christian leaders were really as rich as what you are arguing them to be.