Scientology sued for Fraud! It's going DOWN like bird sh**! (The Garcia Suit)

Discussion in 'Media' started by BlackRob, Jan 23, 2013.

  1. The Wrong Guy Member

    Now The Associated Press has an expanded version of its report. Here it appears in The Washington Post:

    Calif. couple sues over donations to Scientologists; claim money never went to intended causes

    By Associated Press, Updated: Wednesday, January 23, 7:34 PM

    WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Two former members of the Church of Scientology claimed in a lawsuit filed Wednesday that the church and its affiliates deceived members into donating millions of dollars to misrepresented causes.

    Luis and Maria Garcia of Irvine, Calif., filed the complaint in federal court in Tampa, near the church’s national headquarters in Clearwater. The couple claims they were duped into giving more than $420,000 for a building campaign, disaster relief efforts and other Scientology causes, only to find the bulk of the money went to inflate the church coffers and line the pockets of its leader, David Miscavige.

    “The church, under the leadership of David Miscavige, has strayed from its founding principles,” the lawsuit claims, “and morphed into a secular enterprise whose primary purpose is taking people’s money.”

    In an emailed statement, Scientology spokeswoman Pat Harney said the church had not yet been served with the lawsuit, but challenged any contention that money was misappropriated.

    “We understand from media inquiries this has something to do with fundraising and we can unequivocally state all funds solicited are used for the charitable and religious purposes for which they were donated,” Harney said.

    The Garcias were 28-year members of the church, rising to upper levels of Scientology. They left in November 2010 over their disenchantment with its direction under Miscavige, who has led the church since founder L. Ron Hubbard’s death in 1986.

    The lawsuit names various trusts and nonprofits linked to Scientology as defendants and says they collectively engage in fraud, unfair and deceptive trade practices and breach of contract in their fundraising.

    Attorney Theodore Babbitt of West Palm Beach, who is among those handling the suit, said it would be followed by other similar claims from former Scientologists. He said the Garcias still believe in the precepts of Scientology and that the litigation is not a commentary on whether it is a true religion, a question that has dogged it across the world since it was founded in the 1950s. Babbitt said, ultimately, that question is irrelevant when considering its members’ donations.

    “Whether you’re a church or not a church, you can’t defraud people,” he said.

    Harney called the lawsuit “frivolous.”

    “The statements to the media made today about the church and its ecclesiastical leader by these bitter individuals are blatantly false,” she said.

    Among the accusations made in the lawsuit is that the Garcias and others were repeatedly approached with urgent requests for funding of Scientology work around the globe, such as disaster relief or campaigns for causes such as ending child pornography. Babbitt said high-ranking former Scientologists would testify that the church knowingly rerouted such collections for other spending, including financing a “lavish lifestyle” for Miscavige, stifling inquiries into church activities and finances, and intimidating members and ex-members.

    A common tactic, Babbitt said, when a disaster unfolded somewhere in the world, would be to send a small group of Scientologists with a camera crew that would pay locals in the affected area to appear on camera. A scene would essentially be staged, he claims, in which people would be begging or appear to be starving, even if it weren’t the case.

    A cornerstone of church practice is personal counseling sessions, known as auditing, in which members disclose many facets of their personal lives. Babbitt says members’ own financial status and the accounts they hold would be known from those sessions and then be used in tandem with footage from disaster sites in desperate and urgent pleas for money.

    “There’s an emergency, we need your money right now, we know that you have X dollars in the bank in Los Angeles,” Babbitt said, offering a paraphrase of how a member might be approached.

    In the end, little if any of the money collected for such causes reached its intended place, he said. Those contributions, the lawsuit claims, were collected by a Scientology-linked group called IAS Administrations, which Babbitt says former church members will testify accumulated more than $1 billion in contributions.

    The Garcias also claim to have prepaid for auditing and training services that were never provided and for which a refund has never been received, and to have given about $340,000 for the church’s planned Super Power building for high-level coursework.

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  2. muldrake Member

    The Tom Cruise video makes an appearance at ¶ 59 of the Complaint!

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  3. Puppetmama Member

    Remember when the call would go out that the clams were out in force in some comment section and everyone would rush over to bombard them? Well the clams are definitely not out in force. I've been watching this story all day and I've only seen one rambling soul, probably non native speaker, make a pathetic attempt to stand up for Scientology. Where are the clams?
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  4. The Wrong Guy Member

    Imagine being ordered to play that for a jury, and then being cross-examined about it, with the jury staring at you, as reporters are taking notes. :D
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  5. Anonymous Member

    They're busy chasing after Wright and his book and his book reviews?
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  6. Anonymous Member

    I wonder what Para 94 refers to . . . all of mankind being stuck for eternity in this Xenu created mudball prison.
  7. Chipshotz Member

    Been a busy January. My head asplode.
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  8. Malory Member

    Please let the oiliness table make an appearance at some point.
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  9. The Wrong Guy Member

    There's probably an intense strategy session underway at the Gold Base's FFF — the top-secret Footbullet Fabrication Facility.
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  10. Might be high-tide atm.

    snap snap snap
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  11. Anonymous Member


    Nooooo . . . nothing staged about that.
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  12. Anonymous Member

    • Funny Funny x 2
  13. BigBeard Member

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  14. The Wrong Guy Member

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  15. anoninoob Member

    made front page of Yahoo today!!

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  16. Anonymous Member

    • Winner Winner x 2
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  17. The Wrong Guy Member

    • Winner Winner x 2
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  18. tigeratbay Member

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  19. tigeratbay Member

    I think they are all in the hole or just plain overwhelmed.
    Loonieane didn't last very long on the CNN blog the first day, she got beat. They sent some Prophet nut(s) in after that to throw the thread. It was a blast till the nuts came on later.
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  20. grebe Member

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  21. ZeroC Member

    Tick tock mother fuckers.
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  22. Random guy Member

    I'm not sure this will protect them this time, it is a question of how far Garcia is willing to go. Wollersheim stayed on the case for the pure heck of it, and won. The newer cases has narrowly focused on single aspects apart from the religious practice, and this seem to be the way to go. This case is more like the PI's case, a simple breach of contract, and it appears they won handsomely.

    Unless the cult want to argue that fraud is a religious doctrine in scientology, all the swearing in the world is not going to help them. This is not a "he-said-she-said" case, there's plenty of written sources showing the regging. It's going to be harder for them to wiggle out of a "he-wrote-she-wrote" kind of situation.

    Only this isn't like last time. The cult does not have the resources to throw all their dirty tricks at Garcia and his lawyers. This is big law firm, and everyone by now have mobile phones with cameras. Any dirty tricks will blow up in the cults face spectacularly. The hive mind will be on them analyzing every move like in Sparrows case and the ongoing Narconon cases, the Garcias cant be isolated emotionally like victims used to be. The cults resources are stretched thin, covering several ongoing cases. They can't use buffoons like Moxon any more as Sparrows case clearly showed.

    The layers also have some really big sabres to rattle with. There are a few people the cult is willing to go very far to avoid having on a stand, including Miscavige himself, Cook and Rathbun. Threatening to subpoena the books is also going to have their juices flowing.

    I thinks the cults only option is to settle this as quickly as possible. The problem is that this will set precedence, and while the cult may employ every gag measure there is, the lawyers will know the amount they can bilk the cult for, allowing others an easier rout to compensation.
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  23. Skyfall Member

    What a wonderful year 2013 is turning out to be!
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  24. wolfbane Member

    They may want to settle, even make generous offers that include full reimbursement of donos plus punitive damages and costs. But if the Garcias hold their ground on wanting a permanent injunction on the unfair and deceptive trade practices, that in and of itself threatens a key component of Scientology's business model.

    They can't continue to exists without the overly aggressive regging and money sucking. And there is so many common forms of it, the 35pg complaint really only touches on a few of the big ones. So if they agree to the injunction on IAS stuff only, there could still be a line of former members going after them for the same thing in regards to being sold selling excess book packages, courses they don't need, retreads of courses they already did, ethics action, etc.

    So if they don't get a complete dismissal, and the Garcia's hold their ground on the deceptive trade practices... seems to me the cult will almost be better fighting it out tooth and nail, come what may, just to get the injunction alone throw out and take the hit on the fraud charges.
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  25. whitesand Member

    Anyone remember the PTL scandal of 1987? PTL was a religious TV show that sold shares to a resort that was never finished. It was proved the leaders were siphoning off the money for a lavish lifestyle, including the infamous air-conditioned dog house of the ministers. That lawsuit resulted in a prison term for several in leadership positions. I see some similarities to the unfinished SP building.
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  26. RightOn Member

    Lucky 13!
    And unlucky 13 for COS
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  27. DeathHamster Member

    peacebro is highly suspicious. I know exactly what it takes to pop off a relevant Scientology news story reference.
  28. DeathHamster Member

    That's what Elvis said. Are you going to argue with the King?
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  29. mirele Member

    I think a big black bird named KARMA has just settled in the trees at Int and is pooping on little Davey's head.

    The attorneys give a hint that they're thinking about filing multiple lawsuits. They don't all have to be filed in Florida. Rather like Scientology did in the early 1990s with the IRS, there are so many potential lawsuits and plaintiffs all over the country, it's possible we could see lawsuits in California and New York and...etc. Remember too, the counts being alleged in the Garcia lawsuit are civil and based on Florida state law. Different states have different takes on these civil statutes/common law.

    I'd be chowing down on popcorn if it didn't get stuck in my teeth. This could get interesting.
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  30. Anonymous Member

    If enough lawsuits were continually placed in enough different places... :)
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  31. fishypants Moderator

    I certainly hope so.

    The cult still has lots and lots of $$$$$$$ to spend.
  32. jensting Member

    and testimony from Mia Kay Rowe about what it's like to be a reg and from Vance Woodward about what it's like to be regged. IMHO it's the extortion aspects (put them in "ethics conditions" until they "donate") that a jury might find interesting.
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  33. Anonymous Member

    I am glad that this is being pursued by an (apparently well-off) idependant Scientologist. If Garcia is motivated by ideology, is not in urgent need of money, and can afford the lawyer fees, then there is a greater possibility that he will follow through on this case to the end.

    What is the end? It is the Scientology corporation being forced to refund all "money on account" to anyone who has asked for it for the past couple of decades, and going into the future.

    If this lawsuit ends up as a win in court, could this together with all the attending negative publicity put some pressure on the IRS to revoke the tax exemption for failing to adhere to the agreement?
  34. Yes. And Hy Levy gave some good insights as well.
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  35. RolandRB Member

    Then they are finished - there will be nothing left.

    They will be gone by that stage.
  36. Anonymous Member

    And that YouTube from that guy, Hy Levy (sp?), who talked about how he'd get tens of thousands out of people when he was a reg. I think he's dead now so the video is what we have, if anyone knows what I'm talking about.
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  37. Anonymous Member

    The plaintiffs probably already have the stuff about customizing the motorcycles for Miscavige and Cruise, the BoyMobile with dark windows, and the airplane hangar.

    Someone on the inside needs to get some photos of the booze collection and any other mobster bling.
  38. The Wrong Guy Member

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  39. another123 Member

    All eight (use scroll bar) SPtimes videos embedded on for easy viewing & reference.

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  40. Random guy Member

    Yeah, it all hangs on what the Garcias really want to get out of this. If they are in it for the principle (and that is actually possible), then this can end in all sorts of win. Even a settlement is a good result here, though I'd like to see this go to court.
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