I wrote recently about an alleged real estate scam by the “Church” of Scientology. Now a couple who are former members have filed a federal lawsuit over it in Florida and are promising more lawsuits to come from others who contributed large amounts of money for the program.
A federal lawsuit filed Wednesday accuses the Church of Scientology of using fraudulent, deceptive and high-pressure practices to coax millions of dollars from its members.
Attorneys for the California couple who filed the 35-page complaint in Tampa said they have talked to dozens of former church members and several similar lawsuits are coming.
Plaintiffs Luis and Rocio Garcia of Irvine, Calif., name five Scientology corporations as defendants, including the church’s main entity in Clearwater. The former church members say they gave Scientology more than $420,000 for the massive “Super Power” building in Clearwater that has never opened, church services they never received and humanitarian projects that never materialized.
The deception went as far as producing phony videos of church earthquake relief efforts to induce parishioners to give, said the Garcias’ attorney, Theodore Babbitt of West Palm Beach.
The lawsuit focuses on Scientology leader David Miscavige, saying he exerts control over an “interdependent network of entities” that extracts as much money as it can from parishioners and denies promised refunds. It alleges the church improperly uses donations to finance Miscavige’s “lavish lifestyle” and to stifle critics with private investigators and lawyers.
If they win this suit, it could well be the beginning of the end for Scientology. Between that and Belgium charging the court with a range of criminal activities, the lid could be blown off this cult once and for all.