SCIENTOLOGY SUED FOR FRAUD OVER REFUND SCHEME, MORE PLAINTIFFS TO COME - 2013-01-23
Luis Garcia, seen in a recent video by Tiziano Lugli In what appears to be the most serious legal challenge to Scientology in several years, former high-level Scientologists Luis Garcia and his wife Rocio of Irvine, California today filed a federal lawsuit against the Church of Scientology, alleging fraud over the way their contributions to the church — more than $400,000 — were misspent. The suit was filed in Florida's Middle District with the help of the prestigious law firm Babbitt Johnson Osborne & Le Clainche, which says it plans to file additional lawsuits by other former church members.
UPDATE: See attorney Scott Pilutik's thoughts on the lawsuit, below.
In 1993, the Internal Revenue Service granted Scientology tax exempt status, but the church was still beholden to an earlier Supreme Court decision that required it, as in a business, to give members refunds when they requested them.