ORIGINAL Date: Sun, 1 Dec 1996 19:41:25 +0000
The Big Story' Thursday March 28 7:30 pm
Title "The S Files" [S as in Scientology Logo]
[Presenter Dermot Murnaghan (DM: henceforth) no relation to any
"Tonight we're going to expose serious financial crime in one
of the Scientology cult's most successful operations in Britain.
We show how they cooked the books, made false statements to
obtain bank loans, and changed invoices to fiddle their VAT."
[Extract from "Trust" ad"]
"This advert for the Church of Scientology was recently shown
on cable TV. It was a major breakthrough for the cult. The cult
persuaded the Independent Television Commission that it was a
'proper' religious organisation fit to be allowed on TV. It
also has the right to advertise on the ITV network itself,
giving it direct access to the entire British population, and
the Scientologists hope they'll soon be officially accepted as
a charity. But the inside evidence we have obtained raises
serious doubts about their new public image. Last year The Big
Story secretly filmed inside the Bournemouth mission.
[shots from that film - smiling recruiter - whimpering trainee]
We showed the wierd psychological techniques they use and how
they get people to spend thousands of pounds on their books and
courses. The revelations in that programme convinced two former
Bournemouth mission officials that they should come to us with
their inside story of financial scams."
[SCAM 1 - Cooking the Books] [Voices saying "Trust"]
"Roger Tuffin left Scientology when he decided to come out as
gay and now lives with his partner John."
[two blokes sorting out washing]
"He joined the Bournemouth Mission when he was just 20 and
desperately confused about his sexuality"
[1991 -according to an interview in "The Guardian"]
"Roger had worked in a bank so he soon found himself in a key
role in the mission's treasury department - cooking the books"
[shot of bloke putting food under grill]
"Normal accounting practices and financial law went by the
board." RT "Nobody knew where the money came from so receipts
were made up to account for that money. But of course the
receipts were being made up about three years later with
fictitional names, fictitional amounts and courses - and
completely bogus receipts."
DM: "At the time Roger Kay was the boss - his deputy was Debbie
[Film of them taken inside the mission]
Tuffin says they both knew what was going on, but the cult's
international HQ denies this" Mike Rinder - Director CSI "..a
comlete lie. I don't think that there is an example you can
ever find - of somebody in the Church of Scientology that has
done something improper that has not been dealt with internally
within the Church"
DM: "Poole High St. ten days ago. Our secret camera watches the
Scientologists out and about trying to pick up new members"
[shot of street from above]
[for non-UK readers Poole and Bournemouth form a South Coast
Recruiter "...we operate for the benefit the public so it's up
DM: "Scientology is essentially a money-making enterprise. And
they want that money so much that in the Bournemouth mission
they were prepared to employ a woman who admitted she'd been
involved in financial malpractice in the past"
[woman using PC - pages of HCOBs 10 Sept ?? 'PTSness and
Disconnection', 21 Feb ?? 'Choosing PE and Registration', about
'Control and Income']
Andrea Catt "The Scientologists knew that I had been involved
in professional malpractice and that I knew how money worked
and how to get money, how to move money around, and as the
years progressed I got dragged back more and more into the
world of finance"
DM: "But the Scientologists claim they put her into the job to
give her a second chance"
MR: "Someone comes into a church and says that they have
reformed their ways it would be uncharitable and not religious
to say to them 'I'm sorry, we don't believe anthing that you're
saying. I'm sorry because of your past we don't believe that
you can change' " [wrinkles nose]
DM: "According to Andrea by 1991 the Bournemouth mission was
broke and under enormous pressure from the cult's head office
to sell more and more Scientology courses"
[AC: sorting through Scientology books]
AC: "And as the pressure became greater and greater it became
apparent to all concerned that the only way to do things which
were effectively more malpractice"
[Shot through mission windows]
DM: "In the Bournemouth mission every Thursday evening the
executives met to draw up a list of emotionally vulnerable
recruits to be targeted that week."
AC: "There'd be some people - maybe their mother had just died
and they were very depressed or their girlfriend had just left
them and those would be prime, prime targets"
DM: "Alex Bowernan was a prime target"
[shot of man cleaning garden pond]
DM: "He is still trying to recover both financially and
mentally. In 1995 he enrolled for a 125 Scientology
AB: "They told me that I was in a very depressed state of mind.
I had to do something about it otherwise it was just downhill
from there. I had to put a stop to that"
[Cover of "The Scientologist's Guide to Dissemination" then
overleaf 'Finding a Ruin']
AC: " You talk to him about the things which are 'ruining his
life'. You basically make the person feel really, really bad
about the condition they're in. You take their problems and you
magnify them. You look at how that's going to affect them in
the future and you get the person into a state where they feel
that their future is nothing unless they do something and then
you tell them that the only thing that they can do is
DM: "Debbie Pine 'ruined' Alex Bowerman. In a set of gruelling
interviews she persuaded him to start the Bridge - a set of
courses allegedly designed to 'clear' a person of his problems.
[Picture of 'The Bridge to Total Freedom' course charts.]
AB: "I was taken for re-interviews starting about ten o'clock
at night and finishing at about four in the morning and during
this process I was persuaded that this was the best course to
DM: "The bridge costs more than 20,000. Alex was persuaded to
cash in an insurance policy. He was told it had to be done
AB: "I had spoken to the insurance company and I'd been told
that there was no way I could get it that week. It would take
two or three weeks minimum. So I went back to Scientology and
they said 'Oh no, this is not correct. We have done this
before. You just say that this is your money, you want it. You
can get it"
DM: "They were right. When Alex insisted he wanted the money
quickly, the insurance company paid up. The Senior Registrar -
[shot of Stephanie Powell through the mission window]
went with him to collect the money. But even though Alex handed
over more than 23,000
[shot of Scientology receipts for Alex's payment - total
she still wan't satisfied. Within days he'd been persuaded he
needed more training courses, tapes and books amounting to a
AB: "They played me for a puppet. They managed within the space
of a week to get 25,000 off me. That's more than my bank's
ever managed to do"
DM: "Alex's story is not unique. According to Andrea it happens
all the time"
AC: "People were persuaded to re-mortgage their homes, sell
their homes, cash in the policies supposed to pay off their
mortgages, borrow against pensions, sell family jewels, borrow
from their families, sell their cars. Anything you can possibly
imagine that a person could do to raise money, people were
persuaded to do to pay into Scientology."
MR: "You can talk to thousands of people and they will tell you
that nothing even remotely similar to that ever happened to
them. It is just a story that is made up now to sound
sensational and give you some fodder for your programme that
will make the Church in some way look bad."
DM: "If targets had no ready cash or property to sell they'd be
persuaded to take out a loan. To make borrowing easier
Registrars kept a handy stock of forms from all the major
lending financial institutions. They then persuaded people to
lie about the purpose of the loans. This constitutes criminal
[SCAM 2 DECEIVING THE BANK] ["Trust" voices]
AC: "I knew full well, and so did all the other Registrars that
if a person filled a loan form in saying the money was for
Scientology, they'd get a very negative response so people were
encouraged to say the money was for a management training
course, a computer, a car, a boat, anything other than for
Sometimes the person would fill the form in for themselves,
sometimes we'd fill it in with them, or for them. Then they'd
sign it and it would be submitted to the bank on a completely
Coopers and Lybrand accountant - Rick Helsby "If the Church of
Scientology itself assisted a member Scientologist in deceiving
a bank into advancing a loan which the bank otherwise would not
or might not have given then that is conspiracy to cheat and
that is an extremely serious criminal offence"
DM: "In 1993 a loan application purporting to be for a computer
was filled out by by a young recruit in the Bournemouth mission"
AC: "The bank found out that he'd used the money for
Scientology and threatened to go to the police. The mission
needed a scapegoat. I was the scapegoat. I was told to write a
report of all the things that had happened in the mission
financially that were irregular."
[Shot of Statutory Declaration]
DM: "Andrea says she was forced into signing a full confession
taking all the blame onto herself even though other people were
also involved in the financial scams.
MR: "I can't give you any information whatsoever about that. I
just don't. You know, you're talking to me and I have certain
information about things.
But the Bournemouth Mission is a long, long, long way away from
the central activity of the Church of Scientology on an
DM: "Andrea was suspended for six months, but then she was
reinstated. Back in her old apartment it was business as usual.
She was so successful she even won awards from head office"
[The "Gross Income Cup" according to "The Guardian"]
[SCAM 3 Fiddling the VAT]["Trust"]
DM: "It wasn't just the banks that Scientology officials
defrauded. In the early '90s the cult's accountants realised
the Church had failed to register for Value-Added Tax and owed
thousands of pounds to Customs and Excise. This resulted in
some creative book-keeping.
The scam was simple. The courses the cult sells are subject to
VAT but donations are not.
[shot of course leaflets]
RT: "If there was a receipt for a course, say about 4,000, part
of that's your tax which has to be deducted. But then the
receipt would be changed, that receipt taken out and destroyed
and a new receipt made to make it into a donation." RH "If the
Church is deliberately falsifying its accounting records,
destroying receipts and the like so that its trading income or
income from services is understated to the Customs and Excise
then that is an extremely serious criminal offence. It could be
theft, false acccounting and could be subject to many years of
MR: "Now I will say this to you over and over and over. If
someone was doing something unethical that is not acceptavble
to me, it is not acceptable to anyone in the Church and we take
responsibility for straightening those things out"
["Trust" ad again]
DM: [standing outside org] "Scientology staff, under constant
pressure to make money, live in fear of any of their recruits
leaving the cult. A recruit who drops out represents a drop in
income. Even worse, he might demand a refund. So officials need
to keep all members under their control and to do this the use
an insidious technique. All recruits are persuaded to divulge
any dark secrets from their past for their own good.
Those secrets are recorded, and can, if neccessary be used
against them in the future.
Stuart Parkinson is one of the mission's most senior officials.
One day he took Alex Bowerman aside for a confidential chat,
telling him that to get over his problems he should admit to
all his past wrongdoings"
[shot of Stuart P through window]
AB: "Stuart asked for all sorts of information about my
background. Anything I was upset about or embarrassed about,
that was holding me back on the line. And I divulged all kinds
of stuff that I would not normally divulge to anybody, indeed
stuff that I had not told anybody up to that point. Having
written them all down he read them and they went into my file."
DM: "That confession was to have serious consequences for Alex.
After he left the cult he was pestered for six months with
letters and calls. Then they discovered he'd instructed a
solicitor to take action to get his money back."
AB: "Within the next couple of days we had a letter from the
mission. It was not very pleasant"
DM: "The letter referred to the secrets that Alex had divulged,
suggesting 'the way out for you
[shot of letter]
'is to confess everything you did to your wife and the Police
and suffer the consequences' "
AB: "It was basically telling me that they had stuff on me"
DM: "Then Hodgkin and Co., Scientology solicitors passed on the
letter to the Legal Aid Board"
AB: "I was devastated, just reading that letter I felt as if my
whole world had collapsed in one go"
DM: "The fear that personal confidences might be divulged can
ruin a life or even end it"
[shot of gravestone]
"Last November, Richard from Christchurch [near Bournemouth]
[shot of smiling young man apparently celebrating birthday]
"was recruited into the Bournemouth mision. Within a few month
he'd borrowed 3,000 to pay for Scientology courses. Richard's
sister Jennifer describes what he was like before he met the
Scientologists" Jennifer "I would describe him as a very
thoughtful, caring, intelligent sensitive person.
He seemed to enjoy life, went out a lot with his friends."
DM: "Richard underwent the Scientologists Purification Rundown,
[shots of pill-guzzling, running and saunas, labelled as
"Supposedly a form of detoxification, involving taking massive
doses of vitamins, then going for a vigorous half-hour run.
They then sit in a sauna for up to five hours a day.
This punishing regime is repeated daily for at least two to
three weeks. People start to hallucinate, allegedly because
their bodies are getting rid of impurities, but in fact because
of the damage being done to their metabolism.
It was all too much for Richard, both physically and mentally.
Alan, one of Richard's workmates witnessed what happened when
he decided to quit Scientology,
Alan: "When he initially wanted to leave they phoned him four
times a day, five times a day, up to an hour each time. And
when he was on the phone he was shaking, obviously frightened
of something, but only the Scientologists and Richard would
know what that conversation was.
DM: "Tony Clark, and other Bournemouth mission officials, wrote
Richard several letters"
[Shot of Tony Clark through window]
"Some of them distressed Richard so much that he tore them up
on the spot, others warned him of the consequences and asked
him to come into the mission"
[shots of letters]
"Andrea knows the routine. It's called 're-ruining'"
AC: "He might be shown write-ups he'd done of past misdeeds
that he'd done and strongly reminded that those things still
existed within his emotional difficulties and he'd be brought
to a very low emotional point. All the influence the Church had
prior would be really brought to bear and the indoctrination
would be hammered in harder"
DM: "Richard's sister was on a visit home in July. She saw him
on the morning of his death"
Sister: "Richard was anxious about the fact that he was wanting
to leave Scientology, and he was concerned that they were not
letting him leave, and that they were threatening to print
personal information about him. That is what he voiced to me"
DM: "Later, Richard left home saying he was going to visit a
friend. He stopped off at a garage for petrol and cigarettes
but he never arrived at the friend's house."
[shot of Clifton Suspension Bridge]
DM: "For several hours that night his movements are unaccounted
for but much later that night he parked his car near the
Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol. At ten minutes to
midnight he jumped to his death." Sister "The family feel that
Richard would be alive today if he had not become involved with
the Church of Scientology, and I feel they have a
responsibility for people that they are recruiting. If people
want to leave the organisation, then they need to give people
that freedom to leave without harassment and without threat"
MR: "The fact that he committed suicide is a tragedy. But the
fact that people would then make an allegation that because he
had at some point an involvement in the Church of Scientology,
that therefore the Church of Scientology is responsible - is
reprehensible, is disgusting."
DM: "Even after Richard had died, the harassment continued.
Unaware of the suicide, Tony Clark sent increasingly angry and
[Shot of letter 'I'm not the one who will miss out. In ten
years time I will not be thinking life is awful and want to
kill myself.. so why not be bloody ethical and get yourself
sorted. See you soon. Best Regards TC']
DM: [in front of org]"Ten British recruits to Scientology have
committed suicide in the past twelve years. But despite the
disturbing evidence in cases like Richard's Britain has been
tolerant of the cult. It's a very different story in Europe.
There the authorities have taken strong action against
Scientology because of public outrage".
[coverage of French trial]
MR: "The formation of the Christian religion was fraught with
Jesus Christ was tried by a court not unlike the court in
France. He was tried in a court and found guilty and he was put
to death. Today they don't do that anymore. Today we've got the
media to do that to people"
[German and Spanish coverage]
[Pictures of Saint Hill]
DM: "Back in Britain, in 1993 Roger Tuffin joined the Sea
Organisation, Scientology's elite corps"
[shot of 'Why continue to be part of a dying world? Join the
Sea Org' leaflet]
RT "The only way that I could really get out would be for me to
move up by joining the Sea Org, which would be looked as a
positive thing to do in Scientology.
I could escape the finances and all the trouble that was there.
I didn't agree with it but I couldn't win a one-man battle on
sorting it out."
DM: " Roger was posted to Scientology's ship 'Freewinds' in the
Caribbean. There he looked after the cult's war-chest, amassed
from the huge donations collected worldwide."
RT "It certainly ran into hundreds of millions of dollars.
They'd make at least half a million dollars per week worldwide"
AC: "When I saw the 'trust' ad I was horrified. I've not been
the most trustworthy person in my life, and having made this
programme I may get into serious trouble.
I felt that people needed to know the truth. Scientology is not
an organisation that you can trust"
John *** "Make Money, Make More Money, Make Others Produce so
as to Make More Money" -L. Ron Hubbard ***