Shifty business: Times inquiry finds secret debits, deception after Scientology 'Basics' released - 2011-11-13
Church of Scientology staffers were under so much pressure to sell the scriptures known as "The Basics" that some debited thousands of dollars from parishioners' church accounts without their knowledge or permission, a St. Petersburg Times investigation has found.
The church acknowledges the wrongdoing, saying "isolated instances of unauthorized debits" surfaced in a year-end audit.
Seven members of Scientology's religious order, the Sea Org, manipulated accounts, the Times found. They tapped into church computers to debit accounts for materials parishioners hadn't ordered — and in some cases had repeatedly refused to buy, according to former church insiders and a review of account statements.