May 2, 2017 – Tony Ortega covered the latest in the Luis and Rocco Garcia fraud case (http://tonyortega.org/2017/05/02/judge-whittemore-puts-his-foot-down-scientology-cough-up-those-phone-numbers/)
In 2013, Luis and Rocco Garcia filed a fraud case against the Scientology organization, which had dunned them for hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Super Power building in Clearwater, Florida, including donations for a cross atop the building. Turns out others had donated for the same cross.
But the judge, James Whittemore, required the Garcias to submit to Scientology’s arbitration procedures, even after testimony showed that these procedures were a sham and had never been used. Under the organization’s procedures, the Garcias were required to identify one arbitrator who was a Scientologist in good standing – but every time they suggested a name the organization would say that the person was no longer in good standing.
Judge Whittemore finally lost patience with Scientology, and said that he would pick the arbitrators. On April 10, he gave the organization 10 days to hand over names and contact info of 500 Los Angeles area Scientologists in good standing, and said he would randomly call until he had found arbitrators. (April 11 – http://tonyortega.org/2017/04/11/federal-judge-to-scientology-im-taking-over-the-arbitration-and-its-jail-if-you-interfere/)
But after Judge Whittemore asked for the list of names, Scientology submitted a list without telephone numbers, and also asked the judge to choose just one arbitrator on behalf of the Garcias — the church still wanted to pick its own arbitrator (and the first two panelists would select the third). The Garcias countered that this was unfair, and reminded the judge that he wasn’t getting what he asked for. (April 29 – http://tonyortega.org/2017/04/29/garcias-answer-was-scientology-not-paying-attention-to-an-angry-federal-judge/)
So on May 3 Judge Whittemore issued another order, reiterating that Scientology must turn over the contact information to go along with the 500 names so that he can select all three panelists.
This lawsuit illustrates the con game that is Scientology – first, get your victims to sign away their rights to contest their treatment, then shill them out of their life savings and retirement, and then when they catch on, revert back to the original contracts the victims signed and prevail on the legal system to support the con.
In Scientology, it is all about the money. A fraud and a con, built on the souls of idealistic and hopeful members who want to improve their lives and save the world. Time to shut off the tax exemption money spigot.
May 7 – In response to a Freedom of Information request, Radar Online received documents proving the FBI investigation of human trafficking in Scientology. See Melissa Cronin’s Radar article here at http://radaronline.com/videos/scientology-fbi-investigation-human-trafficking-claims-probe/.
Tony Ortega covers this on the Underground Bunker as well http://tonyortega.org/2017/05/03/confirmation-of-the-2009-fbi-trafficking-probe-of-scientology-that-the-church-denied/
The FBI stated, “Based on interviews of former Sea org members, the Church of Scientology tricks young Scientologists into joining the Sea Org, promising good salaries, regular work hours, vacation and family visits. However, once Sea Org members begin their service, they are housed and held at secure locations where they work 15 hour days in various positions for Scientology-based companies. Sea Org members are given no days off, and are permitted only limited and monitored contact with anyone outside the camps where they live and work.”
The probe began in October 2009. For reasons that have never been clear, the FBI investigation shut down in May 2010. At the time it was thought that perhaps because it was dropped because Marc and Claire Headley lost their human trafficking lawsuit (see http://tonyortega.org/2013/01/13/did-the-headleys-and-their-lawsuit-torpedo-the-fbi-investigation-of-scientology/).
It is time to reopen this investigation.
MY God. I just heard of this video (an old one) based on a comment on Mike Rinder’s blog. I had not seen it before.
It is almost 2 hours long, but well worth it if you want to hear step by step how they fleeced this well-intentioned and wealthy Scientologist of more than $2 M over a decade or so.
I was horrified more over and over again – when they interrogated her after her daughter died, when they harassed her to return to Flag when she was with her dying mother, when the reg at Flag slapped her when she tried to resist giving them money, when four of them caught her as she exited the bank and made them give her money she had just received from the sale of her condo, when she had no more inheritance left.
To paraphrase Maria Pia, “I feel stupid but what they did to me when my daughter died, when my mother died, when I was in pain and emotional trouble, at that moment they caught me.” Bless you Maria Pia for telling your story, and for your courage in leaving.
Thank you to chukicita for your comment today on Tony Ortega’s Underground Bunker. I am plagiarizing it in full – well said! chukicita said:
So it’s the second day of the New Year and in keeping with my New Year’s resolution, the second day I am writing to my elected officials. The letters will begin the same way, and then contain a “Today, I am writing because” paragraph with ONE concern.
I’m betting I can find 365 fresh reasons to write. Here’s a sample:
Jan 1, 2017
Dear (elected official),
I am a voting taxpayer who has lived in your district since _____.
The Church of Scientology and its so-called “social betterment” auxiliary organizations have concerned citizens of Clearwater and the Tampa Bay region for decades.
Whether or not it is a religion is irrelevant. I don’t care what they believe, I care how they behave.
Despite a carefully manicured outward appearance, this high-control organization behaves with increasing contempt for our community, our legal system, and even for its own members. The organization has demonstrated over and over again that it has no intention of acting like a good citizen or good neighbor in the
communities it inhabits, tax-free.
Scientology’s policy-driven goals are nothing less than domination, as evidenced by its written policy entitled “Keep Scientology Working” and sacramental words such as these from its founder, L. Ron Hubbard: “Somebody some day will say ‘this is illegal.’ By then be sure the orgs [Scientology organizations] say what is legal or not.”
– L. Ron Hubbard, Hubbard Communications Office Policy Letter, 4 January 1966, “LRH Relationship to Orgs” .
Scientology has been indicted for fraud in several European countries. German government officials have called it a threat to democracy. It cannot call itself a religion in other parts of the world. Even in the U.S., 11 top Scientology officials were indicted for infiltrating US government offices to remove negative information about itself — the largest such infiltration in US history, in 1979.
Yet local government and elected officials continue to treat Scientology, Inc. like it is a benevolent religious group.
Today, I’m writing because I’m concerned about Scientology’s adherence to its unique 1993 agreement with the IRS. With the removal and disappearance of many of the organizations top executives, and five years that have elapsed since then during which their positions remain unfilled, it seems like Scientology, Inc. and its many front groups and tentacles are making a mockery of our tax laws and the IRS.
This multi-billion dollar organization owes much of its success to its tax exemption. Imagine how much your voters would benefit from more than $16 million annually in property taxes back on the rolls, in Clearwater alone?
It’s time to protect Americans from predatory high-control organizations like Scientology.
—— Jan 2, 2017
Today, I’m writing because I’m concerned about the number of Russian and former Soviet bloc country nationals who are living in Clearwater under “religious worker” visas who may or may not be able to leave at will.
From what I understand, some may have had their passports taken from them. Others may not exactly be working in a context that befits the common definition of “religious work” and may be engaged in employment
in the companies of other members of their organization. Still others may be remaining in the country on expired visas.
It’s time to protect Americans from secretive, predatory high-control organizations like Scientology.
Then Harpoona Frittata commented: “Very well-written and right to the main points! I’d just add that I intend to vote, based in part, on how willing my elected representatives are to use their authority to do something meaningful to bring this cult’s many abuses and crimes to a halt and will be checking to see what, if anything, he/she has done about it on a regular basis. Holding elected officials accountable at every level of government is a responsibility that we should all take on, just as you have! Here in California, starting a grass roots movement to inform, educate and motivate our next governor, Gavin Newsome, to spearhead a campaign to bring this killer cult’s long history of crimes and human/civil rights abuses to an end could be the exact point of leverage needed to finally get something done here.”
Thanks to chukicita for the comment on Tony Ortega’s blog just now, from which I copied this:
SIX QUESTIONS EVERY SCIENTOLOGIST HAS THE RIGHT TO ASK
There is nothing wrong with asking questions. We have the right to ask simple, obvious questions about our Church and to expect answers.
1. WHO RUNS OUR CHURCH?
LRH designed a system of Church management that involved managing committees and oversight groups who would act as a system of checks and balances. So who are these people? Who, by name, are the executives of RTC, the members of the Watchdog Committee, and the International Executives under ED Int? Why is this information kept secret? Shouldn’t we know who the people are on these posts, and their qualifications (such as training and auditing level)? And shouldn’t we know when they are removed or demoted, and why?
2. WHAT ARE THE STATS?
Stats shown at events are typically short-term. But what do the stats look like long-term? How do today’s stats of such things as Clears and OTs made, Auditors made, membership numbers, books sold and so on, compare to, say, the mid-1980s? Wouldn’t you like to know?
3. WHO OWNS THE COPYRIGHTS TO LRH MATERIALS?
It is supposed to be CST – the Church of Spiritual Technology. But who is that? Who are the people on their Board of Directors, by name? Where is CST located? Shouldn’t we know this?
4. WHAT HAPPENED TO BROAD DISSEMINATION?
There used to be big campaigns in the 1980s, with TV ads and so on. What happened? Why don’t we have big campaigns? [this could be updated to ask about SMP]
5. HOW DID THIS PRACTICE OF REGGING FOR PURE DONATIONS GET STARTED?
Why was this not done when LRH was on the lines but is done now?
6. WHERE DOES THE MONEY GO?
Between donations and services, we give a lot to our Church. Shouldn’t there be some sort of accounting for how it is spent, such as one might expect from any church or charity? Certainly there are orgs to support, but the Church doens’t found or support hospitals, orphanages or charities like other Churches do. Entities like Applied Sholastics, Narconon and WISE all tithe to the Church. Local orgs send a portion of their income weekly to management. Flag sends the bulk of their income to Management. Money flows up the lines. How is it then spent? Don’t we, as the ones donating, have the right to know?
Make sure to watch Leah Remini’s 8 episodes of Scientology: The Aftermath – Tuesday nights on A&E. It plays at 10 pm PST, 9 pm CST, and 10 pm EST.
More then 2 million people have already tuned in. There have been 4 episodes so far, plus a bonus episode based on her Reddit AMA (“Ask Me Anything”) which generated 10,000 responses.
In each episode, she and Mike Rinder interview ex-Scientologists who have been abused physically and emotionally, disconnected from their children, parents, and siblings, and escaped. The stories are emotionally wrenching, and the viewers cry along with Leah and Mike and their guests.
Her most powerful question is to the viewer – Why is the government, the FBI, not stepping in to stop the crimes? But it will not happen unless we demand that Congress exercise its oversight functions – it is up to each of us to bring this series to the attention of our own Senator or Member of Congress.
This new video by Brian Sheen on “Fraud and Mind Control of the Cult of Scientology” is well worth your next 9 minutes. It is very easy to watch, and tells his own story – his daughter was forced to disconnect from him last year – and includes quotes from several judges and magistrates who have investigated Scientology and concluded it is sinister, dangerous, and fraudulent.
Brian Sheen was a longtime Scientologist but had been inactive for many years, when his daughter was made to disconnect from him (or lose her eternal salvation) last year for no apparent reason at all. Brian’s story was told on Tony Ortega’s Underground Bunker blog
Brian’s website also has his earlier video, also well worth watching – “A Family Torn Apart by Scientology’s Disconnection Policy.”
Please check out this new post from the Scientology Money Project – https://scientologymoneyproject.com/2016/09/27/flag-service-organization-fso-irs-990-ts-for-2008-2014/
“FLAG SERVICE ORGANIZATION (FSO) IRS 990-T’S FOR 2008-2014”
The Scientology Money Project updated the Flag Service Organization (FSO) IRS 990-T’s to include tax years 2013 and 2014.
Located in Clearwater, Florida “Flag” as it is called, is the top moneymaking Org in the Scientology transnational criminal syndicate.
IRS Seeks Applications for the Advisory Committee on Tax Exempt and Government Entities
More at https://www.irs.gov/uac/irs-seeks-applications-for-the-advisory-committee-on-tax-exempt-and-government-entities
The Internal Revenue Service is seeking applications for vacancies on the Advisory Committee on Tax Exempt and Government Entities (ACT). The committee provides a venue for public input on relevant areas of tax administration.
A vacancy exists in the following customer segments:
- Federal, state and local governments
- Indian Tribal governments
- Employment tax knowledge and experience within one or more areas of exempt organizations, employee plans, Indian tribal governments, tax exempt bonds or federal, state and local governments.
Members are appointed by the Department of the Treasury and serve three-year terms. New members will begin their terms in June 2017. Applications will be accepted through Sept. 26, 2016.
Update on 20 year old Rigina Hikmatulina who was sent to Flag Land Base in Clearwater – Tony Ortega reports today that she is back home in Kazakhstan with her parents, at least for now. Hers is a textbook case of human trafficking and abuse of the R-1 visa.
Please read the entire frightening story – including the fact that while Rigina was at Flag, more than once her parents got her a ticket home but she was not allowed to leave – and they had locked up her passport.
Also – Scientology told Rigina that her training at Flag would be equivalent to the university education in genetics that she wanted. Instead, they put her to work running the cleaning crew at one of the Scientology hotels for rich donors.
After Scientology extorted tens of thousands of dollars form Regina’s parents, they declared her mother suppressive and had her disconnect from her parents. If it weren’t for the persistence of Dina’s mother and the hard work of Kazakhstan authorities, Rigina would not be back with them now.
But the story is not yet over. I hope and pray that Rigina stays with her loving mother and stepfather, and that the USA does not let her come back in on a religious visa.