On Tuesday, a federal jury convicted Frank Pate, 47, of two counts of wire fraud and one count of mail fraud after a five-day trial in Sherman, Texas. He is in custody and will be sentenced at a future date.
Previously, we told you about Pate, a former Scientologist who, according to some of his former clients, used their connections as former church members to convince them to invest with him.
Pate ran something he called the Infinity Companies, which he used to attract investors for foreign currency trading. But at trial, Pate was unable to show that he’d actually invested the money people gave him — instead, the FBI testified, he’d used the money for personal expenses.
His indictment described his business as a classic pyramid or Ponzi scheme, with money he took in from newer investors to pay off some earlier ones.
One of those was Michael Laws, a former Scientologist who told us he’d become suspicious of Pate and asked for his money back in time to avoid losses. Laws said he’d cooperated with the FBI and encouraged others to come forward. He told us yesterday that Pate’s trial had been scheduled for the 18th, but Pate didn’t show up. “He was arrested and trial began on the 20th. He fired his attorneys and represented himself,” Laws told us.
We talked to one person who attended the trial and who lost considerable money in Pate’s scheme. “Frank used Scientology terms a lot during my investment with him and spouted his ‘huge wins’ with his version of Scientology,” the person told us. But he said he’d still trust another former church member. “You may not know this or not believe it but most Scientologists are pretty moral and honest people. Frank is an amazing exception.”
Pate faces up to 20 years in prison on each of the three counts. We’ll keep an eye on his sentencing.
A common misconception among Scientology watchers is that church leader David Miscavige hasn’t given an interview since his 1992 Nightline appearance with Ted Koppel. For some reason, his involvement in a 1998 documentary that was aired on A&E has been somewhat forgotten.
But footage from that special, which also featured Mike Rinder as Scientology’s spokesman, showed up in Alex Gibney’s hugely successful HBO film, Going Clear.
That’s prompted the producer of the 1998 doc, Jonathan Stack, to bring out that fascinating film as a web release.
In 1998, the show aired on A&E as “Investigative Reports: Inside Scientology.”
Now titled “Going Deeper: Inside the Church of Scientology,” Stack has released the documentary as the full 1998 film, at $4.95, or for $14.95 a series of three full interviews of Mike Rinder (who was then the church’s spokesman), Aron Mason (then the editor of Scientology’s Freedom magazine), and Scientology leader David Miscavige.
In the trailer Stack posted, we spotted Jon Atack, Dennis Erlich, Robert Vaughn Young, Mark Ebner, and Prof. David Touretzky. Interesting!
That Dutch program on Scientology
We mentioned this “undercover” report on Scientology last week. Now there’s a YouTube version with English subtitles.
We’re actually not big fans of this kind of reporting approach, but we understand why it’s getting a big reaction out of some people, so we’ll let you decide how you feel about it.
NEW: Check out the interactive map to our ongoing tour.
We didn’t get a chance to include photos in our book, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely, so we’re posting them at the Underground Bunker. We’ve created a dedicated page for them, and we hope you go through them all, then come back here and tell us your thoughts!
June 11: New York City (with Paulette Cooper) We’re keeping the venue on the down-low at this point. If you’re interested in coming to this unique event — Paulette in New York talking about Scientology where her story began — drop us a line so we get an idea how many are coming.
June 20: Chicago (with Christian Stolte) The Annoyance Theater, 5pm: This event is SOLD OUT.
June 22: Toronto (with Paulette Cooper) Toronto Public Library, 40 Orchard View Blvd, 7:30 pm, sponsored by the Centre for Inquiry-Canada
June 23: Toronto (with Paulette Cooper) The “Getting Clear” conference
June 28: Clearwater, Florida (with Paulette Cooper) Clearwater Public Library, 2 pm
July 12: Washington DC, Center for Inquiry
Posted by Tony Ortega on May 28, 2015 at 07:00
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Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…
BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of LA attorney and former church member Vance Woodward
UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists
GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice
SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts
PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | Scientology’s Private Dancer
The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill
The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ
Our Guide to Alex Gibney’s film ‘Going Clear,’ and our pages about its principal figures…
Jason Beghe | Tom DeVocht | Sara Goldberg | Paul Haggis | Mark “Marty” Rathbun | Mike Rinder | Spanky Taylor | Hana Whitfield