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Real Estate Developer Convicted Of Fraud In Scientology Trial

December 30, 1986 GMT

BOSTON (AP) _ A man has been convicted of trying to force the Church of Scientology to pay $100,000 for bogus information about a forged $1.5 million check on the account of the late church founder, L. Ron Hubbard.

George T. Kattar, 67, of Methuen, was found guilt Monday of one count of extortion, but was acquitted of three counts of wire fraud and one of accepting stolen money. He faces up to 20 years in prison when he’s sentenced Feb. 6.

A co-defendant, lawyer Harvey Brower, 49, of Swampscott, was acquitted on all five counts by the U.S. District Court jury.


Kattar and Brower were accused of trying to falsely blame the 1982 check forgery on Boston attorney Michael J. Flynn, who has filed many suits against the church on behalf of former members.

Prosecutors said the pair took a $33,000 initial payment out of $100,000 the church had offered as a reward, then tried to extort the rest, even after church officials knew their information was false, by threatening to harm or kill then-church official Geoffrey Shervell.

They thought the Scientologists would be reluctant to complain because of a longstanding feud with federal officials, prosecutors said.

Kattar’s lawyer, Michael Avery, said at the trial that church officials had ″set up″ his client to confound a federal investigation of the church.