crimes

Scientology has a long, well-documented history of breaking the law.

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Scientology's Crimes

Learn about allegations - and convictions - of criminal activity by Scientology organizations and executives.

Is Scientology Breaking the Law?

Is Scientology breaking the law? There's evidence that they are.

Affidavit of Margery Wakefield

April 13, 1990: Testimony tells the story of her experiences in Scientology.">Margery Wakefield's affidavit describes illicit activities, hearing plans to murder individuals, and false imprisonment by the Church of Scientology.

Guardian Office Memo Requests Update on Stealing Department of Justice Files

October 3, 1975: A Guardian's Office memo is sent to Richard Weigand requesting a compliance report on target 17 of GO 1361. (Target 17 directed the infiltration and theft of files relating to Scientology from the Tax Division or the United States Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.) Weigand added a handwritten note to the memo that target 17 "is almost done" in Washington DC, but that six more weeks would be needed to complete the target at the Justice Department in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Police - Public Statement Regarding Eugene Ingram's Wiretapping

April 23, 1985: A public announcement by Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl Gates disavowing any cooperation with Eugene Ingram, longtime Scientology agent, who claimed to have obtained a letter from the LAPD authorizing Ingram to eavesdrop on others.

crimes in the News

Datesort iconTitle
October 23, 1999Scientology Spends Heavily on Fund-Raisers xScientology, which recently won a decades-long drive for federal tax exemption, counts assets of about $400 million and appears to take in nearly $300 million a year from counseling fees, book sales, investments and other sources, according to documents filed with the IRS. Although leaders did not appear to make large salaries, some had relatives on the Scientology payroll. For example, in addition to his wife, [David Miscavige]'s father, stepmother, brother and sister-in-law are employed by the church. Also, his mother, two brothers-in-law and two sisters, though not employed by the church, earned commissions as fund-raisers.
October 24, 1999IRS Examined Scientology Dollars, Not Dogma The Church of Scientology is, after all, an organization that bugged IRS offices, saw 11 of its members sent to prison and was found to be financing founder L. Ron Hubbard's lifestyle aboard a yacht. "Either Scientology changed very basically or the IRS changed. Or maybe both," former IRS commissioner Donald Alexander said of the settlement. "I hope that the IRS did not give in to intimidation," Alexander went on, alluding to the years in the 1970s when his agency battled the church. "I have great reservations, based on the public record and published stories, about this organization's activities and whether this was, is, or remains a money-making cult."
November 6, 1999Police No Longer Checking On Church Clearwater officers haven't actively investigated the controversial Church of Scientology in several months. The Clearwater Police Department no longer assigns an officer to gather intelligence about the Church of Scientology, a major policy shift ending 20 years of vigilance against the controversial group.
November 15, 1999Reuters: French ex-Scientology leader guilty of fraud A French court sentenced a former regional leader of the Church of Scientology to jail for fraud in connection with courses offered by the organisation.
November 24, 1999Scientology Prompts Review Of Death Case In an unusual step, Pinellas-Pasco Medical Examiner Joan Wood has agreed to reconsider her conclusions in the 1995 death of Scientologist Lisa McPherson. The medical examiner's findings are key elements in two court cases against Scientology. Three years after McPherson's death, the Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's Office charged the church's Clearwater operation with two criminal counts: abuse of a disabled adult and practicing medicine without a license. The church also faces a wrongful death lawsuit filed by McPherson's family.
December 8, 1999When Can A Church Be Accused Of A Crime? Lisa McPherson, 36, was a Scientologist who died after being under the church's care in Clearwater in 1995. The state has filed charges of abuse and practicing unlicensed medicine against the church's Flag Service Organization, or simply "Flag." McPherson died that Dec. 5 after 17 days at the church's Fort Harrison Hotel under the supervision of Scientologists. The state says she died of a pulmonary embolism, with dehydration and immobility as contributing factors. The state says her final days featured raving delusions and forced medication.
December 14, 1999Scientology: white-collar crime club Knoxville News-Sentinel: Scientology: white-collar crime club
April 6, 2000Scientologists Are Saying Church Being Persecuted Lawyers for the Church of Scientology argued yesterday that criminal charges filed against them in a church member's death were brought by prosecutors determined to negatively brand the church. Prosecutors countered this case is not one of religious freedom, but one of medical neglect. Lisa McPherson had been under the care of Scientology for 17 days following a minor car accident and a mental breakdown. Prosecutors said she was badly dehydrated, malnourished and that the medical care church members gave her was unlicensed and inadequate.
June 24, 2000Mental manipulation now a crime as sects targeted Sidney Morning Herald: Mental manipulation now a crime as sects targeted
June 27, 2000Letters To The Editor: Scientology approach to crime Berkshire Eagle: Letters To The Editor: Scientology approach to crime
January 5, 2001$1.2 Million Recovered In Fund Scam More than $1.2 million bilked from investors has been recovered by federal officials and will be returned to the fraud victims. A U.S. Customs Service investigation resulted in a court order this week directing the Church of Scientology to return $1.2 million donated by Dennel Finance. The church returned the funds to a receiver and has not been accused of any wrongdoing, authorities said.
April 3, 2001Church of Scientology Sent to Trial in France A French magistrate has ordered the Paris division of the Church of Scientology to stand trial on charges of attempted extortion and invasion of privacy, judicial sources said on Tuesday. Investigating magistrate Renaud Van Ruymbeke also notified Marc Walter, a leader of Scientology in the Paris region, that he would face trial on the same charges, in addition to false advertising.
April 4, 2001Letters: Scientology Should Be Treated Differently Leaders of Scientology, represented by at least one lawyer who works with Pope, were convicted in a plot involving infiltration and burglary of federal government offices. Scientology officials and organizations have been criminally convicted in Canada. If attorney Wallace Pope and Clearwater police Chief Sid Klein can't tell the difference between Calvary Baptist Church and a syndicate like Scientology, they are a lonely pair indeed.
April 27, 2001Scientology Critic Convicted Wired: Scientology Critic Convicted
May 12, 2001Courts: EarthLink co-founder's files are seized as a criminal probe opens into alleged Ponzi scheme Los Angeles Times: Courts: EarthLink co-founder's files are seized as a criminal probe opens into alleged Ponzi scheme
May 30, 2001Office Search Part Of Criminal Probe Albuquerque Journal: Office Search Part Of Criminal Probe
June 7, 2001Unorthodox Arrest: Church of scientology calls cops and has one of its harshest and most vocal critics jailed Now: Unorthodox Arrest: Church of scientology calls cops and has one of its harshest and most vocal critics jailed
June 13, 2001Tom Cruise Sect Preys On Drugs Prisoners: Warning As Cult Targets British Jails Mirror: Tom Cruise Sect Preys On Drugs Prisoners: Warning As Cult Targets British Jails
June 27, 2001Tass: Khabarovsk Sect Chief Convicted for Money Laundering Olga Ukhova, director of the regional Dianetics scientology centre, was sentenced to six years imprisonment conditionally for illegal entrepreneurship and money laundering.
June 27, 2001Scientology money laundering in Russia Itar-Tass Russia: "Olga Ukhova, director of the regional Dianetics scientology centre, has been sentenced to six years imprisonment conditionally for illegal entrepreneurship and money laundering in particularly large amounts."
July 1, 2001Scientology faces ban over jail `infiltration' Independent: Scientology faces ban over jail `infiltration'
September 22, 2001Sentencing in Trial Against Scientology After 7 months of trial, thousands of written pages, hundreds of people investigated and 12 Scientologists accused, the judge now has to decide whether the 12 members of Scientology are guilty of conspiracy, a crime for which the public prosecutor asked for three months in prison for each.
January 9, 2002Icon Accused of Fleecing Celebrities U.S. security regulators trying to piece together an investment scam that reached the highest levels of Hollywood - and a number of unsuspecting Canadians - have banned the alleged operator from ever associating with a financial advisor. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission handed down the punishment following negotiations with former Wall Street icon Reed E. Slatkin, who is accused of running one of the largest Ponzi schemes in American history. Authorities say Mr. Slatkin, an ordained minister in the Church of Scientology, offered people huge returns on investments.
January 18, 2003Lawsuit Grinds To Another Delay After six years, it finally appeared the wrongful death suit against the Church of Scientology was headed for trial, but a clearly frustrated judge postponed the highly publicized case once again, probably for at least several months. Schaeffer granted the delay so the church could appeal her earlier ruling that Ken Dandar should not be disqualified as attorney for the estate of Lisa McPherson, the church member who died in 1995 after 17 days in the care of Scientologists in Clearwater.
October 2, 2005NY Post: Scientology Sex Assault Nightmare The New York Post reports that Scientology auditor and course supervisor Gabriel Williams repeatedly raped a 16-year-old Scientologist who had been ordered to live with Williams while she worked at Scientology's Mountain View org.

crimes in the News

Datesort iconTitle
October 10, 1972Guardian's Office Weekly Report Directs Attacks on Paulette Cooper Scientology Guardian's Office Weekly Intelligent Report notes that Paulette Cooper is "still actively attacking Scientology" and lists three "handling" actions, including giving New York Scientologists orders to "attack her in as many ways as possible"; this item says that action has already been taken on "wide-scale exposure of PC's sex life."
September 21, 1975Scientologists Commended for Breaking into Government Offices Gregory Willardson writes a CSW (Completed Staff Work) to Jane Kember and requests commendations and awards for various staff members who had been involved in executing GO 1361 (which directed breaking into government offices and stealing documents), including Cindy Raymond.
October 3, 1975Guardian Office Memo Requests Update on Stealing Department of Justice Files A Guardian's Office memo is sent to Richard Weigand requesting a compliance report on target 17 of GO 1361. (Target 17 directed the infiltration and theft of files relating to Scientology from the Tax Division or the United States Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.) Weigand added a handwritten note to the memo that target 17 "is almost done" in Washington DC, but that six more weeks would be needed to complete the target at the Justice Department in Los Angeles.
September 28, 1976Mo Budlong writes to Richard Weigand, describing a plan for hiding Michael Meisner from his arrest warrant Mo Budlong writes to Richard Weigand, describing a plan for hiding Michael Meisner from his arrest warrant. This constitutes conspiracy, harboring a fugitive, and obstructing justice.
October 6, 1976Michael Meisner Moves to a Scientology-Rented Apartment; Coverup Continues Michael Meisner moves into an apartment at 444 South Burlington Street in Los Angeles. The apartment was rented by Paul Poulon (Collections Officer for the Information Bureau); the Guardian's Office wanted to reduce expenses and it was cheaper for Meisner to hide out in an apartment than in hotel rooms. Meisner spends most of his days at local libraries doing research on the security of government buildings, in order to support one of the cover-up stories, _viz._, that he had entered various government buildings to do an expose on the lack of security. Cinty Raymond and Meisner meet approximately twice a week to discuss the ongoing cover-up.
October 6, 1979Mary Sue Hubbard and 8 Other Scientology Executives Admit Massive Conspiracy Hubbard's wife Mary Sue and eight other Scientology executives signed a 282-page (plus exhibits) Stipulation of Evidence that detailed the government's case. That document details the burglaries, forgeries, conspiracies, to obstruct justice and other crimes committed.
August 3, 1980Scientologist Elizabeth Eagleton Wiegand, Senator Eagleton, Stephen E. Poludniak, St. Louis. Libby Wiegand, $220,000, company;, Scientologist Elizabeth Eagleton Wiegand, niece of Senator Eagleton, and her attorney Stephen E. Poludniak are arrested and charged with extortion and conspiracy in St. Louis. Libby Wiegand had threatened to publicize embarassing information about the senator unless he purchased $220,000 of her stock in a family company; he refused to purchase the stock because he believed the money would go to Scientology. Although Scientology denied any involvement at the time, they later linked it to a Guardian's Office operation in their IRS Form 1023 declaration.
April 23, 1985Los Angeles Police - Public Statement Regarding Eugene Ingram's Wiretapping A public announcement by Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl Gates disavowing any cooperation with Eugene Ingram, longtime Scientology agent, who claimed to have obtained a letter from the LAPD authorizing Ingram to eavesdrop on others.
April 13, 1990Affidavit of Margery Wakefield Testimony tells the story of her experiences in Scientology.">Margery Wakefield's affidavit describes illicit activities, hearing plans to murder individuals, and false imprisonment by the Church of Scientology.
September 30, 1996Patrice Vic Trial Begins - Scientology Executive Charged with Manslaughter Trial begins in the death of Patrice Vic. Scientology executive Jean-Jacques Mazier is charged with manslaughter, and 22 other Scientologists also face charges.