Presenting Rod Keller's
Alt.religion.scientology Week in Review

Volume 6, Issue 7 - June 3 2001


American Technologies Group this week announced that a lawsuit against them for control of some of its products is being led by a group of Scientologists. "American Technologies Group, Inc. said that a news release issued on behalf of BWN Nuclear Waste Elimination Corporation, i.e., the Carroll brothers, is misleading and part of an unlawful pattern of conduct orchestrated by a group connected with the Church of Scientology, and led by prominent members of that church, the Carroll brothers and Michael Stoller, long-time leading Scientologists. "The lawsuits with the Carrolls began after Noel Carroll visited the Company in March of 2000 openly declaring that he was going to take the baser and catalyst technology owned by ATG and commercially exploit it through the vehicle of Bio-Friendly and BWN. ATG successfully prevailed in securing a temporary injunction to prevent that theft of ATG's technology from happening. "The actions of Michael Stoller and the Carrolls are nothing less than an attempt to take for themselves what belongs to the ATG shareholders. These matters are so serious and so continuing that the Company is seeking a U.S. Department of Justice investigation of the fraud, the attempts at theft, and any connection with the Church of Scientology which the Company has reason to believe is fully aware of these unlawful acts." Message-ID:

Battlefield Earth

Jam Showbiz News reported on May 31st that the animated sequel to Battlefield Earth is in production. "Generally regarded as one of the most reviled big-budget films in recent history, the film of 'Battlefield Earth' was based on Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard's novel of the same name. Despite the poor showing, Hubbard's book has been licensed for a 13 episode animated series, to be done in the highly stylized Japanese animation format known as manga. Travolta will apparently not be providing the voice of Terl. Dan Haggerty, best known as TV's Grizzly Adams, will fill the role, with action hero Chow Yun-Fat (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) mentioned as a voice for the non-English version of the series." Message-ID:

Hubbard Event reported on June 1st that L. Ron Hubbard books were the focus of an event at a Chicago book convention. "Resurrection Boulevard star Marisol Nichols attended Chicago's BookExpo America, marking a celebration of nearly seven decades of published works by international and New York Times best selling author L. Ron Hubbard and the unique photo exhibition chronicling his life and works, a top feature at the Expo. The star of the first all-Latino dramatic series on English-language U.S. television, says her own life has been deeply impacted by the many works of Mr. Hubbard. "Distinguished by over 300 rare photographs, the exhibit vividly profiles L. Ron Hubbard's extraordinarily adventurous life and the scope and far-reaching impact of his literary career that spanned over half a century and encompassed more than 530 published works of fiction and non-fiction. "Marking its 51st anniversary as a perennial self-improvement bestseller, Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health remains a publishing phenomenon and is now available in 52 languages with nearly 19 million copies sold. It has appeared on more than 420 bestseller lists in the U.S. alone." Message-ID:


The French National Assembly passed a law outlawing abuse of individuals by cults. From Agence France Presse on May 29th: "A new law against sects expected to be adopted by the French National Assembly Wednesday is being described by opponents as an assault on human liberty and a dangerous precedent for countries like China seeking to crack down on minority faiths. "The Church of Scientology, one of 172 groups officially designated as 'sects' in France, has spearheaded the campaign against the bill, warning of the arbitrary powers it will give to judges to suppress beliefs and behaviour that run against the mainstream. 'If it is voted through, this law will allow the judicial authorities to dissolve any religion, any spiritual or other group labeled 'sect-like,' wrote church-member Daniele Gounord in a special edition of its newspaper Ethics and Liberty. "Officially entitled 'the law to reinforce the prevention and repression of groups of a sect-like character,' it is the amended version of a bill which was widely criticised when it passed a first reading last June because of a controversial clause making a crime of 'mental manipulation.' Instead a new clause punishes 'the abuse of a person in a state of psychological or physical dependence caused by the exertion of heavy or repeated pressure or techniques liable to alter his judgment, to induce such person to do or forbear an act that is seriously prejudicial to him.' "A second provision would allow courts to close down associations after members have been convicted of crimes such as personal violence, illegal use of medicines or misleading publicity. "Since the bill was published, US assistant secretary of state for human rights Michael Parmly has spoken of Washington's concern about its 'dangerously ambiguous' language, and 50 members of the Council of Europe's parliamentary assembly called for its suspension until the completion of a report on religious rights in France. "Human rights groups and minority faiths have warned that the legislation is part of a dangerous trend visible in other parts of the world, and could be used by China - for example - as a template for laws to suppress the Falungong sect. Sponsors of the French law deny that it targets beliefs of any kind, but only groups who use coercion, emotional pressure and mind-management techniques to indoctrinate individuals and enslave them to their cause." From the Irish Times on May 31st: "France's National Assembly adopted a new law against sects yesterday, ignoring criticism from churches and human rights groups that it represents an assault on basic liberties. Officially entitled 'the law to reinforce the prevention and repression of groups of a sect-like character,' it makes it an offence to abuse a vulnerable person via the 'exertion of heavy or repeated pressure or techniques liable to alter his judgment'. It will also allow courts to close down associations after members have been convicted of crimes such as personal violence, illegal use of medicines or misleading publicity. From Asia WorldSources on May 31st: "It punishes 'abuses of a vulnerable person through exertion of serious and repeated pressure, or use of techniques to alter his judgment, leading him to commit acts seriously prejudicial against himself.' Those who commit such crimes might face an imprisonment of up to three years and a fine of 2.5 million francs (700,000 U.S. dollars). 'The sects, under the cover of the so-called spirituality and esotericism, get prosperous secretly. In fact they have no other goals but power and money,' said Congressman Jean-Pierre Brard, also an expert on sects, quoted by the French daily Le Figaro on Thursday. France 'should respond to the problems caused by sect-like organizations at an international level and through European judicial proceedings,' he added. From the Guardian on June 1st: "The Scientology movement and the Unification Church of the Rev Sun Myung Moon immediately denounced the bill - endorsed almost unanimously on Wednesday by national assembly deputies - as anti-democratic and in breach of human rights laws. Roman Catholic and Protestant leaders have expressed disquiet. "But the justice minister, Marylise Lebranchu, described it as 'an important, even a vital law to protect human liberties'. Once approved by the senate, the law will allow courts to order the immediate dissolution of any movement regarded as a cult whose members are found guilty of such existing offences as fraud, abuse of confidence, the illegal practice of medicine, wrongful advertising and sexual abuse. "Sects will also be prohibited from opening missions or touting for new members near schools, hospitals or retirement homes, and from reforming under a different name once they have been legally banned. A convicted guru would risk five years in jail and a fine of 500,000 pounds for reoffending. "This will make it a crime to 'exercise heavy or repeated pressure on a vulnerable person, or use techniques likely to alter his judgment, to induce in him behaviour prejudicial to his interests.' The law defines 'vulnerable people' as minors, the elderly, or anyone suffering from a long-term or debilitating illness or considered after medical examination to be 'in a state of physical or psychological subjection'." From Le Monde on May 31st: "Various attempts to exert pressure on the parliamentarians apparently did not bear fruit. 'We are absolutely thrilled that the sects are infuriated,' stated Philippe Vuilque, who believes 'the upper American administration has been infected by Scientology.' Representative Jean-Pierre Brard (PC) derided a 'non-existent campaign by the international lobby of sectarian associations' against the legislation. "He thinks that invention by the President of the French Bishop's Conference, Cardinal Bille, and the President of the Protestant Federation, Pastor de Clermont, which criticized the text of the proposal in a letter to the prime minister, violated the 'separation of powers.' Rene Andre, a representative of the RPR, believed on the other hand that the two clergymen had 'the right and the duty to take a position,' and that 'it would have been an bad sign for the enactment of the proposal if they had been denied that right.'" The Independent reported on May 30th that Scientology staged a demonstration in Paris to protest the proposed law. "Demonstrators campaigning for religious freedom in France burnt an effigy of Joan of Arc outside the French Embassy in London yesterday. About 300 protesters from the Church of Scientology were highlighting their opposition to a religious bill being debated in Paris today." Message-ID: 9f1mbu$ Message-ID: Message-ID: Message-ID: Message-ID: 9f7tjd$ Message-ID: Pine.LNX.3.96.1010601131119.133A-100000@darkstar.zippy


Die Presse reported on May 30th that Gerry Armstrong spoke to the Austrian Federal Center for Sect Issues on his experiences in Scientology. "'Power and money are the real motivations behind Scientology. That really has nothing to do with religion.' Canadian Gerry Armstrong, who spoke from his decades of experience with the obscure 'private religion' of sect founder L. Ron Hubbard, who died in 1986, spoke at a meeting of the Federal Center for Sect Issues to warn against categorizing Scientology as a religion. A religion that persecuted former members in an effort to silence them or - as happened to him in the mid 1980s - threatened to put a 'bullet between his eyes,' was certainly not a religion, Armstrong believed. "He said he spent over two years in the organization's 'concentration camp.' After he left the sect he was persecuted: physical threats, lawsuits, libel and breaking into his house were a daily routine. Armstrong emphasized the sect's influence on the USA's justice and administrative systems, an influence which became increasing apparent in the 1990s. Since that time, the freedom of religion guaranteed by the US Constitution has been more or less used to enact a prohibition against criticism of religion and as a license for groups to suppress their members, Armstrong said. "About 40 members of Scientology Austria demonstrated in front of the French Embassy on Schwarzenbergplatz against a proposed law to regulate religious communities in France. The law will give the president and the administration the power to ban religious groups that pose a danger to public order." Message-ID: Pine.LNX.3.96.1010601131200.133B-100000@darkstar.zippy


Jesus, an Italian Catholic magazine, this week published an article on the religious status of Scientology. "Unwilling detention. Illegal practice of medicine. Drugs. Brainwashing. Tax evasion. Scientologists are accused of brainwashing their members and adepts to suicide, to deprive them of medical treatment, to destroy families, to ruin them financially. "The headquarters in Clearwater and their 'branches' (many of which in Italy as well) are more like luxury hotels than worship buildings. But what is really happening behind those doors? Tortures? Artificial paradise? There's only one way to find it out, though risky: go and see. "People wandering about apparently without a purpose, or sitting on a chair repeating incessantly 'fishes swim.' The feeling is like being on a different planet, where people speak an unknown language crowded of odd terms (clear, Ned, auditor, engram) and a syntax like this: 'If you have a problem what you have to do is to solve it. This is what you have to do.' "We wanted to follow the procedure of a standard recruit. You get an invitation to undergo a free psychological test, on the streets or elsewhere. It happens sometimes (though rarely) that an honest examiner says: go home, you do not need anything. Usually, however, after the free test they suggest you to buy the first auditing 'pack.' The 'patient' is kept into the gear, and this will be the last time he hears the word 'free.' "Only the initiated can get to the most jealous secrets, small doses always against payment. On posters and publications the peremptory orders of Hubbard' stand out 'all the books needed for your study must be purchased'; 'Complete your library of Ron's work;' 'every scientologist must have his/her personal E-Meter.' "The ones who can not pay can pay in kind, i.e. working hours. At the lower levels you can easily meet young people with a hungry expression, trying incessantly to sell you books. There's a complicated system of credits and debts that pushes you more and more, towards goals of more and more perfect 'happiness,' at more and more prohibitive costs. "It's easy understandable why such a business, in the hands of unscrupulous people, can become a multinational enterprise with a turnover of billions of dollars. As far as the 'religion' of Scientology is concerned the treasures of the most esoteric doctrine cost staggering figures. 'Happiness, immortality are priceless,' the Scientologists reply. The goal of the highest levels is the state of Operating Thetan (OT), 'immortal operating spirit.' "Maria Pia Gardini has publicly exposed the Church of Scientology for having turned her out of house and home. She wants a million dollars back, but she paid the 'religious' group much more. Moreover, Maria Pia Gardini told about years of insistent and urgent requests of money, psychological and physical violence inflicted her by members of Scientology to get her sign a number of checks. "It started 15 years ago when Maria Pia's daughter, a drug addict who was attending a Narconon community, suggested her to follow some courses of Scientology in order to get rid of a depression caused by a family loss. Since then, Maria Pia is sucked into the Scientology whirl from which, she says, she's able to come out 'after having purchased everything you can purchase in Scientology.' Her daughter died when she was still in Scientology, in 1990. "Mrs. Gardini leaves Scientology in 1994, defrauded of all her possessions and 'persuaded' as she bitterly underlines, 'to have wasted many years of my life with an experience I now see as rubbish.' She got to the grade of Class 9 auditor and studied the most advanced course, called OT VIII. After 5 years of exhausting negotiations to have her money back, Mrs. Gardini decided to go public and expose her incredible vicissitude made of psychological pressure and vexations, and she turned to the Lisa McPherson Trust, a Foundation based in Clearwater that's fighting against Scientology. "Mrs. Gardini's case joins the endless stream of judicial vicissitudes that had as main characters the members of the Church of Scientology. A number of power of attorney offices got interested in Scientology since the beginning of the Milan trial back in 1988 (it ended a few months ago with the acquittal of the last 33 defendant.)" Message-ID:

Keith Henson

Keith Henson was arrested and jailed in Canada this week. Police were told by Scientology that Keith was a wanted terrorist and bomb maker. Gregg Hagglund was present, and described the arrest. "Keith Henson and I were shopping at the Oakville Place Mall. We went to my four door Protege which was parked near the main entrance to the Grocery store. An unmarked Van blocked the rear of my car and another unmarked van pulled up on the passenger side of the vehicle. My first reaction was that these were Scientology paid Bounty Hunters attempting to do a kidnapping of Keith. Then I saw the blue Flak jackets, uniforms and badges for a moment and after that all I saw was guns. Lots of guns. "Two Officers carrying machine guns had Keith in their sights and were standing to the right of the car. Two more with drawn Glock handguns had me in their line of fire. We were ordered to freeze and keep our hands in view. Keith slowly raised his. As did I. Keith was ordered to exit the vehicle, hands in view and to lie prone on the ground. I was taken from the car to the rear of the vehicle and bent over the trunk. "At the scene were at least six ETF officers in battle gear, at least one of which was a woman. There were also at least three marked cruisers, besides the two unmarked vans and another 4 to 6 uniform Oakville uniformed cops. The Detective stated he was executing an Immigration Canada Warrant for Keith Hensons Arrest. Keith was to be taken to 22 Division in Toronto and handed over to Immigration there. I later discovered he was then to be sent to the infamous Immigration Metro West Holding Centre at 111 Disco Rd in Etobicoke. This is near the Toronto International Airport. "The apparent basis of this Immigration Warrant is the allegation Keith Henson failed to disclose to Information to Immigration Canada, when he entered Canada on May 12, 2001. That information was an alleged a Felony Fugitive Warrant in the US, and/or a misdemeanor so called 'hate crime' in California. The fact is, Keith was not wanted at that time." "Detectives Glavin and Bonenforte apparently admit they relied on information supplied to them by Scientology's Office of Special Affairs. Scientology supplied a volume of false information to the two Detectives, which purported to prove Mr. Keith Henson was a dangerous bomb making expert and terrorist." From the Toronto Globe and Mail on May 29th: "A fugitive wanted in the United States for committing a hate crime involving the controversial Church of Scientology was arrested at gun point yesterday by at a busy shopping mall outside Toronto. Mr. Henson arrived in Canada on May 12 after being convicted this month of 'interfering with a religion' for picketing outside the Church of Scientology's compound in Hemet, Calif. "According to friends, Mr. Henson, an American citizen, plans to seek refugee status in Canada because he fears retribution from Church of Scientology members if he returns to the United States." From the Toronto Star on May 30th: "Keith Henson, 58, is being held in the Metro West Detention Centre and faces a mandatory detention hearing tomorrow, said Dominique Forget, a spokesperson for the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada. Detective Phil Glavin of the fugitive squad said seven officers arrested the self-proclaimed free-speech activist at gunpoint in the parking lot of the Oakville Place shopping centre while he was with Gregg Hagglund, a friend. "Robert Schwarz, the deputy district attorney for Riverside County who handled the case, said Henson not only picketed the Scientologists but followed the organization's buses and posted bomb threats on Scientology's Internet newsgroups. Henson's wife disagreed. In a phone interview from Palo Alto, Calif., Lucas said Henson has been working to expose the Church of Scientology - which he believes is a crime syndicate - for five years and he is being targeted by the group." From the Hamilton Spectator on May 30th: "An American engineer says he'll be killed if he's sent back to California where he was convicted of hate crimes after a long verbal vendetta against the Church of Scientology. Keith Henson, 58, was arrested at gunpoint this week at Oakville Place by Halton police. The American was wanted on an immigration warrant after being convicted of hate crimes in California for picketing the Church of Scientology and posting anti-church messages on the Internet. Henson said he began fearing for his life after reading missives in the Internet that he would be murdered. He is seeking political asylum In Canada rather than return to California for sentencing. "'I'm applying as a political refugee from the United Sates. I wasn't afraid until they bragged on the Internet they'd have me killed in jail in the United States;' he said in a telephone interview from the Metro West Detention Centre. During the trial, Henson was quoted as saying he would 'destroy them utterly' and making cryptic comments about cruise missiles. The prosecution suggested he was capable of carrying out these threats because of his background in explosives, knowledge of pipe bombs, and technical know-how as a computer engineer. 'It's patently absurd. I haven't used explosives for 25 years. I did it professionally (as a geophysicist). I also teach kids about pyrotechnic safety,' he said." From Hour Magazine on June 1st: "Looking back, maybe the joke about the 'Tom Cruise Missile' wasn't such a good idea. That online jest, made last year by Keith Henson, a peaceful if persistent critic of the controversial Church of Scientology, has led to his being found guilty of 'intimidating a religion,' and now on the run from the U.S., hiding out in plain sight in Oakville, a Toronto suburb, where he plans on claiming political-refugee status. "Like Waco and Jonestown, this case raises issues of how far freedom of religion goes and just how far a so-called religion can go to protect itself and its members from its dissidents. 'It's not that I care one way or the other about their beliefs,' said Henson this week just after news of his flight hit the net. 'If they want to believe in space cooties, galactic overlords or virgin birth, that's their problem. The problem is when they viciously violate my right to free speech.' "Last May, the fiftysomething computer engineer from Silicon Valley was passing through the small village of Hemet, California and decided to check out Scientology's Golden Era film studios. 'They acted so guilty when I started picketing - papering over the windows, going undercover, buying thousands of plants to block the view - that I stayed.' "But that day, Henson went a bit further than usual, taking on a faux-Austin Powers tone, posting the GPS co-ordinates for various landmarks on Gold Base, and ending up with the now infamous threat: The Tom Cruise Missile that said the only way to 'get clear of the Scientology mess is to 'destroy them utterly.' "Sources in Hemet speculate Scientology pressured the local district attorney into moving against Henson and prosecuting him because of his threat. He was arraigned on three charges, one of 'intimidation/threat/oppress because of colour/religion/gender;' one of terrorist threats, and one of attempt of a terrorist threat. After a near-disaster of a defense - in which all of the passages that would indicate Henson's threat was little more than a sophomoric joke were barred - the jury found Henson guilty of the first indictment - intimidation - and hung on the other two counts. On May 15, Henson came north to the Toronto suburban home of Gregg Hagglund, another anti-Scientologist, to do some picketing. Shortly thereafter, he decided to stay and skip out on sentencing." Message-ID: 9ev0dl$ Message-ID: Message-ID: Message-ID: Message-ID: Message-ID: 9f915v$ Message-ID:

Leipzig Human Rights

Bild-Zeitung reported on May 31st that Norbert Bluem will receive the Leipzig Human Rights award on June 10th. "For his commitment in dealing with the Scientology organization, former federal labor minister Norbert Bluem (CDU) is to be honored with the Leipzig Human Rights Award. The uncompensated award will be presented at a ceremony on June 10th." Message-ID: Pine.LNX.3.96.1010601131359.133C-100000@darkstar.zippy


A Portland Oregonian column on May 31st described Scientology's literacy programs. "Hillary Larson, executive director of the Portland branch of HELP -- the Hollywood Education and Literacy Project -- seems perplexed that Hubbard's influence on their learning curriculum might be cause for alarm. 'My attention is so focused on literacy and education that bringing religion into it is a waste of time,' said Larson, granddaughter of the late oregon transportation czar Glen Jackson. 'Scientology is an important part of my life, but my interest in life is education. That's not the purpose of the literacy project. Never will be.' "In recent weeks, however, HELP-Portland -- which sits directly across the street from Portland Community College's (PCC) Cascade campus and a block from Jefferson High School -- has been criticized as a gateway into the controversial 'church.' Porter Raper, an English faculty member at PCC, argues that HELP is a 'recruiting front' for Scientology: 'This is nothing more than a veiled attempt to become legitimate in our community.' "Raper is particularly concerned that Larson is recruiting on the PCC campus for volunteers to fill three Vista positions that will allow HELP to dramatically expand its operating hours. 'They have this federal money,' Raper said, 'and it troubles me. They should not have this seal of approval.' "David Touretzky, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University who's been dueling the Scientologists on free-speech issues for years argues, however, 'The cult is taking a more subtle approach with this literacy stuff.' The principles of 'study technology' offered at the North Killingsworth office, Touretzky argues, 'are loaded with significance in the Scientology religion. Study Tech actually helps lay the foundation for introducing Scientology into the schools.'" Message-ID:

Protest Summary

Kristi Wachter reported a protest in San Francisco on June 2nd. "Picketers: Murdoch, Marie, Peaches, Kristi Wachter, Arel Lucas Handlers: Jeff Quiros, Not-Always-Nasty Mark, Bill Crawford, StealthMan Number of Handouts given away: 259. "When we got to the org shortly before noon, we saw that Murdoch and a new person were already there. Marie turned out to be a lovely young lady with a soft voice, an open mind and a camcorder. We welcomed her and I gave her a picket advisory, and we settled in to picket. Murdoch later told me that he and Marie had arrived at 11, so the picket ran at least three hours today. "A few Scientologists, including NAN-Mark and Bill, acquired anti-psychiatry signs 15 or 20 minutes into the picket. Compared to last time there were fewer of them, and they didn't really seem to be into presenting their message. "Not long into the picket, a white car pulled up and a gentleman got out dressed in your basic security-for-hire uniform, light brown shirt and slacks with little embroidered round badges at the shoulders. He had a gun and a nightstick and was apparently with Stealth Security. He had a little disposable camera with him and took pictures of us all. After getting photos, he mostly stood near the org door and watched us, occasionally conversing with Jeff and the others. Somewhere around midway into the picket, he apparently went inside the org; I didn't see him much during the second hour. "Around 1:25, Arel arrived. A parking space had opened up right in front of the org and she joined us for the final half hour of the picket. I hear that some of the handlers made rude remarks about Keith (probably intended to make her lose her cool), but she seemed remarkably calm to me during the picket. At one point she put on earphones so she could listen to something a little more pleasant than Scientology representatives gloating over the recent miscarriage of justice. She had some great fliers about how the prison sentence literally endangers Keith's life. We knocked off pretty promptly at 2 pm." Message-ID: 3b199dba$

Reed Slatkin

The Albuquerque Journal reported on May 30th that the FBI seized records from Reed Slatkin's bookkeeper. "The FBI seized 37 items, including computer disks, fax logs and other documents on May 11 from the Santa Fe office of Jean Janu in connection with a criminal investigation of EarthLink co-founder Reed Slatkin. According to the affidavit for the search warrant, Slatkin is under investigation for investment fraud. "'It appears that Slatkin has not invested individuals' funds as promised,' the affidavit says. 'To date, the SEC and private attorneys representing several of the investors have been unable to verify that Slatkin has ever had any accounts in Switzerland holding investor funds.' "Janu, who maintains her own office at 1751 Old Pecos Trail, handles accounting for Slatkin's securities transactions and determines the values of investors' portfolios, the affidavit states. Janu does not participate personally in any securities trades or banking transactions involving the investors, the affidavit states. Janu works as a bookkeeper for Slatkin, and Slatkin is her only client, according to the affidavit. "Slatkin handles more than $200 million for over 500 individual investors, according to the affidavit. Investors include Hollywood celebrities, Internet executives and fellow members of the Church of Scientology." From the The Wall Street Journal on May 30th: "In 1997, the Securities and Exchange Commission made early inquiries into the activities of Reed E. Slatkin, a money manager better known as an Internet entrepreneur who co-founded EarthLink Inc. Four years and tens of millions of dollars of new investments later, the SEC filed suit in federal court in Los Angeles on May 11 accusing him of defrauding Hollywood celebrities and other investors through 'Ponzi-like' schemes in which he used money from new investors to pay off older ones. Now, many investors are wondering, what took so long? "If the allegations against Mr. Slatkin are true, the problem appears to be a combination of a lack of follow-through by the SEC and the gullibility of investors. 'Mr. Slatkin's lies and obstruction of our investigation, all the while giving the appearance of cooperation, greatly impeded our investigation,' explains Kelly Bowers, an SEC attorney working on the case. While there were things about the situation that didn't seem quite right, 'suspicion is obviously quite different from evidence,' says Valerie Caproni, regional director of the SEC's Pacific region office in Los Angeles. "One reason that investors trusted Mr. Slatkin is that he appeared to be a paragon of success who was above reproach, with the trappings of wealth and ties to an established Internet company, say people familiar with the case. Few of the people who gave him money - including the celebrities, as well as Internet executives and people Mr. Slatkin met through the Church of Scientology - suspected anything was amiss until they read about his financial problems. A devout follower since his teenage years of Scientology, a controversial religious group founded by science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, Mr. Slatkin had long invested for church members." The Los Angeles Times reported on June 2nd that Slatkin signed a consent decree in the fraud case. "Fallen money manager Reed E. Slatkin has signed a consent decree with securities regulators and is discussing a plea bargain with the U.S. attorney's office over his role in what has been described as one of the largest potential Ponzi schemes investigated by government officials. Slatkin's moves signal that he is trying to avoid a court showdown over an investment management business that took in hundreds of millions of dollars from wealthy investors. But investors said they were worried that plea negotiations could short-circuit government investigations and make it harder for them to find out what happened to their money. "Securities and Exchange Commission documents filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles on Thursday show Slatkin neither confirmed nor denied any wrongdoing in signing the consent decree, the strongest remedy the SEC can seek. The SEC reserved the right to levy a penalty against Slatkin and order him to repay money to investors, although how much the SEC may seek is unknown. Slatkin is still under criminal investigation for investment fraud by the FBI, which raided his Santa Barbara home and his offices in Goleta, Calif., and Santa Fe, N.M., last month. "Slatkin's attorneys have said investigators need Slatkin's cooperation to unravel his investments and return the maximum amount of money possible to investors. Investors have been skeptical, however, of Slatkin's claims and government regulators' ability to ferret out the truth. "Slatkin told the SEC that investors' money had been funneled through Swiss bank accounts, but regulators have found no evidence that the accounts exist, according to SEC documents. The SEC won an order freezing Slatkin's assets last month, accusing him in court documents of running an investment fraud since 1985. The consent decree extends that freeze, which covers 41 brokerage and bank accounts as well as Slatkin's home, office in Goleta and vacation property in Solvang. "Documents seized from Slatkin's home and turned over by his attorneys last month list more than 750 people as investors. Slatkin's client list included Hollywood actors and producers, Internet executives including fellow EarthLink Inc. co-founder Sky Dayton and members of the Church of Scientology, of which Slatkin was an ordained minister." The St. Petersburg Times reported on June 3rd that some investors got their money from Slatkin before the scheme collapsed. "CNN legal commentator Greta Van Susteren and her husband, tobacco litigator John Coale, were among more than 500 clients who invested money with a Church of Scientology member who is now under federal criminal investigation. Van Susteren and Coale, who live in Washington but have a second home in Clearwater, are prominent members of the church. 'We were lucky,' Coale told the Wall Street Journal last week. He and Van Susteren got their initial investment back 'and then some,' Coale said." Message-ID: Message-ID: 9f7vqo$ Message-ID: Message-ID: bRrS6.167$

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