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Scientologists claim adversary had $2 million check forged

Title: Scientologists claim adversary had $2 million check forged
Date: Wednesday, 25 July 1984
Publisher: Press-Enterprise (Riverside, California)
Author: Ronnie D. Smith
Main source: link (102 KiB)
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LOS ANGELES — Church of Scientology officials yesterday accused a top church adversary of conspiring with organized crime figures to steal $2 million from Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard two years ago.

Church officials contended Boston attorney Michael Flynn also intended to use the theft scheme in a Riverside County probate case to gain control of Hubbard's $200 million estate. That case was later dismissed.

Flynn, reached yesterday at his Boston office, called the Scientologists claim adversary had $2 million check forged charges "outrageous" and said church officials are trying to "frame me of a crime."

Over the years, Flynn has filed 27 suits against the church on behalf of former church members seeking more than $500 million in damages.

The allegations against Flynn were outlined yesterday at a Los Angeles press conference attended by Scientology president Heber Jentzsch, church attorney John Peterson, church spokesman Vaughan Young and a private investigator, Eugene Ingram.

The officials said evidence showing that Flynn conspired to counterfeit and forge a Hubbard check has been given to the U.S. Attorney's office in Boston.

Yesterday, Boston assistant U.S. Attorney Brackett Denniston, chief of the major fraud unit, would neither confirm nor deny the assertion.

Ingram, a Los Angeles private detective hired by the church, said two brothers — Ala and Akil Tamimi — and a third person who he said was a member of organized crime in Boston, have identified Flynn as being involved in the scam.

Ingram provided a statement, purportedly written by Akil Tamimi, who lives in the United Arab Emirates in the Middle East. In it, Akil Tamimi said he tried to cash a $2 million check at a New York City bank in June 1982 but failed after the bank raised questions about the check.

The check, purporting the signature of L. Ron Hubbard, was from the Bank of New England in Boston where Hubbard has an account, according to Ingram.

Ingram is a former Los Angeles Police Department sergeant who was fired in 1981 and later acquitted of charges that he ran a house of prostitution.

Akil's brother Ala Tamimi contended in court papers filed Monday in district court in Los Angeles in a separate case that he had the Hubbard check forged after Flynn gave him sample checks and offered him $400,000 — Tamimi's share of the $2 million.

Ala Tamimi, who Ingram said is a forger, is in jail in Naples, Italy, pending extradition to the United States in a separate fraud case. Ingram said Tamimi, who will be paid $25,000 for his information by the church, is co-operating because he hopes it will help the other case.

Flynn said yesterday from his office that the church has "obviously paid this guy Tamimi some money" to make the statements. He denied knowing Tamimi or anyone involved in organized crime.

"This is outrageous," said Flynn. "They are manufacturing evidence to smear me because I exposed them. The allegations are a joke. I plan to file a criminal complaint against Ingram, Peterson and the others. This is a criminal conspiracy to frame me of a crime. I am going to try to get them indicted."

Church attorney Peterson countered: "He will claim this is frame-up by the Church of Scientology. Mr. Flynn cannot withstand scrutiny on this because we have the facts . . . and they show clearly without a doubt that Mr. Flynn . . . and others conspired to counterfeit a check, they forged a check and they tried to steal $2 million from Mr. Hubbard."

Peterson said the forged check came to light during a probate case filed in Riverside Superior Court by Hubbard's estranged son, Ronald DeWolf, of Nevada, in November 1982.

In that case, DeWolf contended that Hubbard, who has not been seen in public since March 1980, was either dead or incompetent to handle his own affairs.

DeWolf contended that church officials had been stealing millions of dollars from Hubbard and the forged check showed that unidentified church officials were forging Hubbard's signature. A judge later denied DeWolf's petition to have his father declared dead.

Other than the statements by the two brothers, Ingram, the private detective, refused to provide detailed evidence that he claims shows Flynn's involvement in the check scheme and with organized crime. He also refused to identify others involved.

"It wouldn't be proper for me . . . to reveal to you who these other people are," he said.

"The main piece of evidence used in the probate case was this forged check," said Ingram.

Flynn said he found out about the check from a vice president of a bank which was investigating the incident.