Two Men Linked To Mob Charged In Bilking Church of Scientology
BOSTON (AP) _ Two men have been charged with trying to extort $100,000 from the Church of Scientology by threats and offers of phony evidence about a $2 million check forged on the account of church founder L. Ron Hubbard.
George T. Kattar, 67, of Methuen, and Harvey Brower, 49, of Swampscott, were charged Wednesday with a count each of attempted extortion, three of wire fraud, one of receiving and disposing of funds moving in interstate commerce, and with making threats of violence against church officials.
The men were named in a federal indictment handed up May 23, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Brackett B. Denniston III.
Kattar and Brower told church officials they had important evidence about a 1982 counterfeit case involving Hubbard’s account, and that they would provide the evidence for $100,000, with one-third in advance, the indictment says.
They provided only fictional information between September and December 1984, and stole the $33,333 church payment, it says.
Brower was released on $50,000 bail and Kattar was held without bail pending a detention hearing Friday, Denniston said. They face up to 45 years in prison and a $23,000 fine each if convicted.
The $2 million check forged in Hubbard’s name never cleared, said Harry Manion III, national counsel for the church. Hubbard died in January.
Kattar, linked to New England mob figures during a 1971 U.S. Senate subcommittee hearing on organized crime, is under FBI investigation for alleged arms smuggling to Lebanon, according to The Sun of Lowell.
Court records indicate he also is being investigated by a federal grand jury in connection with a scheme to steal $12 million from an account at the Bank of New England, and that he was convicted of tax evasion in 1970.
Brower, who formerly had a law practice in Lawrence, once represented Raymond L.S. Patriarca, reputed head of New England organized crime until his death in 1984, according to The Sun.