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Another elderly victim gets soaked by Scientology, is talking to law enforcement

[Scene of the crime, the Advanced Org of Los Angeles (AOLA)]

Last summer, we told you about a shocking case of elder abuse involving a man named Efrem Logreira. He had joined Scientology at the age of 74, and a year later he was almost homeless because Scientology had burdened him with so much debt and then refused to refund him or allow him to attend its events.

After we began speaking to Efrem, and after he also spoke to law enforcement, Scientology suddenly wanted to pay him back at least part of what he said they owed him. And we could certainly understand why. Using various means of cajoling him — including an ice cream date with three young women which Efrem caught on camera — Scientology convinced him to fork over tens of thousands of dollars for counseling that he would never use. The church seemed to realize that such a blatant rip-off of a senior was extreme even by Scientology standards. We have not spoken to Efrem in some time, but we have an update on him that we’ll save for the coda to this story.

A few weeks ago we got a tip from one of our longtime sources, and learned that nearly the same thing has happened again. But this time, the 82-year-old victim wasn’t new to Scientology.

She had been in it for more than fifty years.

The subject of this story wants very badly to tell her story on the record, but she is concerned about how her family will be affected, and so for now she asked that we not identify her. However, she was very cooperative, sent us documentation, and said she is still hoping to identify herself later on.

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Her story is deeply disturbing.

She’s a delightful woman from the Midwest who fell into Scientology in the late 1960s and even joined the Sea Org in 1974, working for a time under Yvonne Jentzsch at the original Celebrity Centre in Los Angeles. But eventually she left the SO and returned home.

She was still passionately devoted to L. Ron Hubbard and the “tech,” and believed that it had the potential to perform miracles — she was convinced that she had lived into her 80s with no health issues because of her involvement in Scientology.

Her one real problem was that she was very hard of hearing. So she was interested when two “missionaires” visited her last March, telling her that she should go to Los Angeles for Scientology auditing that would improve her hearing.

Even with her faith in the tech, she regrets being taken in by the pitch. “I should know better,” she says. But she decided to go.

“They asked me for $3,500 for an intensive in LA to get my hearing back. And $300 for six days in the hotel there, at $50 a day — which turned out being $75 a day.” When she balked at the overall cost, one of the missionaires offered to pay for her flight. (An “intensive” is a block of 12.5 hours of auditing, Scientology’s brand of counseling.)

In Los Angeles, she did the auditing at the Advanced Org, AOLA, and she says she enjoyed it. “I thought I was doing better. I was having wins. I was excited,” she says. (Later, when she returned home, she had herself tested and was disappointed to learn that she had lost another four percent of her hearing.)

On her second day, however, she was asked to meet with some of Scientology’s very persistent fundraisers, known as “registrars.”

“They put me in a room for five hours. ‘You want to go up the Bridge,’ they said. I said I can’t afford it. ‘If we can find you a way, will you do it? We’ll get you a line of credit,’ they said. So, OK, we’ll get a line of credit.”

One of the people pestering her, a man named Morgan, was using a laptop computer the entire time, she says. She found out later that Morgan was applying for credit on her behalf, using all of her private information they had on file. “They said I was the one on the computer. Then they had me sign a paper — ah, I was so stupid I signed whatever they gave me.”

They escorted her from AOLA to a local bank to complete the transaction. “They had all of my information. My Social Security Number, my mother’s maiden name. So the bank said it was a proper transaction.”

At some point, she says, one of the other registrars asked for her smartphone, saying that he wanted to put the Scientology TV app on it. “I thought I was getting a letter of credit. But what it turned out to be was three credit cards. I only later realized that what he actually did with my phone was activate the three cards.”

At the time, she was just glad the “regging” session was over. She assumed that a letter of credit was something she could draw on later, and wasn’t an issue at the time. She went on with her auditing.

As the week came to a close, she was looking forward to going home. But as her return date neared, she realized that they had other ideas. “They didn’t want to lose the stat. There were very few people there. They didn’t want anyone to leave.”

They wanted her to draw on her credit to buy many more intensives of auditing. She was told that what she really needed was another 23 intensives, or 287 hours in total of counseling.

She just wanted to go home. By 1:30 pm on her final day, she had completed a routing form except for one final signature, showing that she had completed what she came to do. “For hours and hours, they worked on me, trying to get me to stay.”

She sat in the Advanced Org, and sat. At 11:30 pm, she decided that she was going to walk out.

“I said I was going home. They all surrounded me, walking me down the front of the building. They wanted me to go to Ethics. But I went to the hotel, and they followed me. A little later, at 12:30, they called me in my room, saying that I had to come by in the morning at 8:30.”

She then learned to her surprise that her flight reservation the next day was still intact. (She assumed they would have changed it to keep her there.) At about 4:30 am, she put on as many sets of clothes as she thought she could get away with, and made her way to the lobby. She knew that she had to leave her luggage behind.

“The only way I could leave was to pretend I was going for a walk. I walked down the block, and I found some men who looked sketchy. I went into a Motel 6 or something and asked the guy behind the counter to call Uber for me.” Within minutes her ride picked her up and went to the airport. “I was shaking like crazy.”

She got home without incident. But then, she finally discovered that it wasn’t a letter of credit she had obtained, but three credit cards — and a balance of $59,500.

“I had no idea until I got home. Two of the cards arrived in the mail, the third one never arrived. I took the two down to our local church,” she says. She complained, but she was told that she had approved the transaction. “I never said yes. I don’t have that kind of money,” she insisted.

Meanwhile, she went to her bank, reporting the transaction to the fraud department.

“The bank decided it wasn’t fraud,” she says. “I went to everyone I could think of. I appealed the decision. They said it would go to the executive office, the highest it could go. In November, they said they would call me the next day. I never heard from them again.”

She also sent letters to local law enforcement, and even to the attorney general of her state. Again, she got nowhere.

But in the meantime, one thing she was sure of: She was no longer a member of the Church of Scientology.

“My kids are happy that I’m out. They’ve been very supportive.” At one point, when she told them she was trying to get her money back from Scientology and would probably be the subject of harassment, she said she planned to leave town so they wouldn’t be targeted as well. But they immediately drove over and told her not to leave.

“I was afraid of them. I’m not as afraid now. But I was still a Scientologist — until I got home and found out what they had done. It gradually dawned on me what they did. I’d been brainwashed. I’m still working on it.”

A couple of weeks after our initial conversation, we checked back with her and she told us that she was very pleased: She had just spoken to another law enforcement agency that seemed very interested in what she had been through, and asked for copies of her documentation.

We hope something comes of it.

 
CODA: Now, that update we promised. We heard last night from Graham Berry, whom we first wrote about almost 20 years ago (wow, how time flies). He sent us this happy dispatch…

“I am pleased to inform you that I successfully represented Efrem Logreira in his claim against the church. A confidential settlement agreement permits me to state that Logreira’s dispute with the church has been resolved to the parties’ mutual satisfaction. Consequently, Efrem is doing very much better and his situation is greatly improved.”

Wow, that’s good to hear. And Graham had another update for us that he asked us to relate to our readers…

“I am now preparing another pre-litigation demand letter in connection with a similar situation to the one Efrem described and endured. If it must go to litigation it will be worth substantial damages. It should also be worth an award of punitive damages. However, a plaintiff who wishes to sue a California religious corporation for punitive damages must make an early showing of merit. To that end, I would very much like to hear from anyone who, during the last five years, signed up for Scientology books, courses or auditing with bank loans, overdrafts, credit cards, or other forms of loan or credit; particularly where a staffer has assisted with the opening of new credit cards or obtaining increased credit card or overdraft limits. I can be DM’d on Facebook, emailed on grahamberryesq@gmail.com, telephoned at (310) 745-3771, texted at (310) 902-6381. I also have an encrypted account at Hushmail.com.”

 
——————–

Start making your plans!

 
——————–

Scientology’s celebrities, ‘Ideal Orgs,’ and more!

[Elisabeth Moss, Michael Peña, and Laura Prepon]

We’ve been building landing pages about David Miscavige’s favorite playthings, including celebrities and ‘Ideal Orgs,’ and we’re hoping you’ll join in and help us gather as much information as we can about them. Head on over and help us with links and photos and comments.

Scientology’s celebrities, from A to Z! Find your favorite Hubbardite celeb at this index page — or suggest someone to add to the list!

Scientology’s ‘Ideal Orgs,’ from one end of the planet to the other! Help us build up pages about each these worldwide locations!

Scientology’s sneaky front groups, spreading the good news about L. Ron Hubbard while pretending to benefit society!

Scientology Lit: Books reviewed or excerpted in our weekly series. How many have you read?

 
——————–

THE WHOLE TRACK

[ONE year ago] Leah Remini and Mike Rinder cite Scientology interrogations as they support Paul Haggis
[TWO years ago] What Scientology is telling its members: Things have never been better!
[THREE years ago] Atack: What I meant when I said Scientologists suffer from arrogance when they leave
[FIVE years ago] Judge Waldrip grants Monique Rathbun’s discovery request, snubbing Scientology
[SIX years ago] TONIGHT: Nancy Many’s Story of Scientology Spying and Interrogation on ID at 10 PM
[SEVEN years ago] Did You See a Scientology Ad This Weekend?

 
——————–

Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,331 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 1,462 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 1,964 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 1,444 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 507 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 395 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 3,702 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,570 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,344 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,118 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,464 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,030 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 6,950 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,117 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,698 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,958 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,998 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,710 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,236 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,325 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,465 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,785 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 7,641 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,760 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,116 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,418 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,524 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,927 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,798 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,381 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,876 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,130 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,239 days.

——————–

Posted by Tony Ortega on January 16, 2019 at 07:00

E-mail tips to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We also post updates at our Facebook author page. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

Our new book with Paulette Cooper, Battlefield Scientology: Exposing L. Ron Hubbard’s dangerous ‘religion’ is now on sale at Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats. Our book about Paulette, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, is on sale at Amazon in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook versions. We’ve posted photographs of Paulette and scenes from her life at a separate location. Reader Sookie put together a complete index. More information can also be found at the book’s dedicated page.

The Best of the Underground Bunker, 1995-2018 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2018), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

Other links: BLOGGING DIANETICS: Reading Scientology’s founding text cover to cover | 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 | Shelly Miscavige, ten years gone | The Lisa McPherson story told in real time | The Cathriona White stories | The Leah Remini ‘Knowledge Reports’ | Hear audio of a Scientology excommunication | Scientology’s little day care of horrors | Whatever happened to Steve Fishman? | Felony charges for Scientology’s drug rehab scam | Why Scientology digs bomb-proof vaults in the desert | PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | 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

Watch our short videos that explain Scientology’s controversies in three minutes or less…

Check your whale level at our dedicated page for status updates, or join us at the Underground Bunker’s Facebook discussion group for more frivolity.

Our non-Scientology stories: Robert Burnham Jr., the man who inscribed the universe | Notorious alt-right inspiration Kevin MacDonald and his theories about Jewish DNA | The selling of the “Phoenix Lights” | Astronomer Harlow Shapley‘s FBI file | Sex, spies, and local TV news

 

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