Thursday, January 24, 2013

Ex-Scientologists Sue Charging Church With Fraud and Deception

The Tampa Bay Times reports that a lawsuit was filed Wednesday in a Florida federal district court against the Church of Scientology by a California couple, Luis and Rocio Garcia, who charge 5 Scientoloty entities with fraud and deception.  The Garcia's say they gave the church $340,000 for a planned "Super Power" building in Clearwater, Florida that after 14 years is still incomplete. They claim that Scientology purposely kept the building incomplete in order to raise more money for it.  They also seek return of $69,000 the put on deposit for counseling and for meals and accommodations aboard Scientology's cruise ship. They also say they gave over $40,000 to the International Association of Scientologists in fundraising appeals for projects that did not exist or were misrepresented. Among other things, the Garcia's allege that Scientology made a video using actors to impersonate earthquake victims. The Garcia's, who no longer belong to Scientology, gave it $1.3 million during their 28 years as church members, and spent $300,000 on Scientology services. The lawsuit particularly focuses on the role of Scientology leader David Miscavige.  A Scientology spokesperson said : "This frivolous suit is filed by the same group of apostates the [St. Petersburg] Times has been supporting for four years..."  The St. Petersburg Times ran a long expose on the church in 2009. (See prior posting.)