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How do we know the ‘Chase Wave’ happened? ‘Aftermath’ guest Mark Fladd: ‘I was part of it’

[Mark and Stephanie Fladd on ‘Aftermath’]

On Sunday, we told you about a document that had been leaked to us: It purported to be directions for Scientology’s registrars to follow as they were pressuring members to open up multiple Chase Bank credit cards in order to saddle those members with huge debts. The process was called the “Chase Wave.”

We posted the document because we have heard about Scientology’s high-pressure credit card capers for years and years. But was there specifically something called the Chase Wave?

“I was part of it,” says Mark Fladd, who reached out to us Sunday after our story appeared.

You may remember Mark. He and his wife Stephanie appeared on an episode of A&E’s Leah Remini: Scientology & the Aftermath in its third season. In the episode, they talked about losing a house after Mark paid $35,000 for a “Clear” package that he didn’t complete.

Now, Mark says, the “Chase Wave” was what put him in that position to lose his house.


It was 2015, and he says he had not been going to the Orange County org for six months or more. But then he got invited to a fundraiser.

“I ended up giving 50 bucks at the fundraiser. There’s high pressure and you’re expected to give something. I gave 50 bucks just so I could get the focus off of me,” he says. “But after I did that it was like blood in the water. I started getting the executive director for Foundation [the night and weekend crew at the org] and the regges trying to sign me up for this and that. the executive director, Cathy Moore, even started showing up at my work and at my house. She wouldn’t leave until we agreed to give her $30,000 for a Clear package. She went on for hours and hours.”

As any former Scientologist can tell you, when regges and EDs smell money, they can be incredibly persistent.

“She ended up not taking no for an answer. We had to say yes,” he says.

But there was a problem: Mark didn’t have the money.

“I think my highest limit was a $500 credit card,” he remembers.

But then he was brought down to the registrar’s office, and that’s when the Chase Wave began.

“They called the credit card company. They had their whole list of things they went through. ‘I’m here with Mark, I’m talking on Mark’s behalf.’ The Chase operator asked me, ‘Mark, do I have your permission to have Jason speak on your behalf?'”

Mark says he was stuck. He gave his permission.

“First it was Chase Freedom Card. I want to say they got an $18,000 or $20,000 limit, and maxed it out. Then they got me the Chase Marriott card as well, for another $18,000. So that’s like $38,000 total limit, and they charged $35,000 to $38,000 right away. Basically, they maxed them both out is what I recall.”

The experience Mark describes is exactly what is spelled out in the Chase Wave document we posted Sunday.

Mark explains that he hadn’t been making bad money at the time, but he lost his job a couple of months later, and started driving for Uber when it was still a new company. It was their only income.

He says they had no choice but to sell their house because of the crushing debt from the credit cards.

“The house was my wife’s grandmother’s house. Her mother had grown up in the house.” And losing it was not only a financial hardship. It hurt emotionally.


With the equity from the house they paid off the credit card debt, and moved to New Mexico for a couple of years.

“That was the Chase Wave,” Mark says. “I still have those cards. But I’ve paid them off.”

And no thanks to Scientology.

“The Sea Org people were telling me I could take the debt from Chase and move it to Citi or Discover to get another zero percent card. They were basically telling me not to pay it and just keep swapping it. It was bad advice,” he says.

And while they were telling you just to move the debt around to keep from paying it, were they still asking you for more?

“That’s why I left. I realized these high-pressure tactics were never going to end,” he says.

We also heard from one of our regular tipsters, George McAlpine, who sent us this recollection.

In February 2019 I had difficulty paying for services on a Chase Card at the New York Org and had to switch over to Capital One to get it through. A few months later the Flag registrar (Russell from England) was trying to close on getting me to buy a complete Congresses package and wearing me down on the ACC’s. But he couldn’t get the money out of me because at that point all my cards were Chase and my credit was in the crapper, so I couldn’t open another one with another company.

It seemed I was on the phone for hours until some woman came on the line and suggested putting it through Paypal, where I still had some credit. They were big time driving me away from Chase.

Thankfully by the end of 2019 I got out of the Church, with only credit card debt and about 30 boxes of worthless LRH Congresses and ACCs cluttering up my apartment to show for it. Can’t even give them away on eBay nowadays. Because of my out-ethics I was never actually able to get the services I paid for in the New York Org. Thankfully, I didn’t get too deep into the madness.

Well, there you go. A new source brought us a document spelling out the Chase Wave, and he said it had caused so many defaults by 2019 Chase had blacklisted Scientology and members were told they couldn’t use Chase cards for services.

We’ve now heard from two recent defectors from Scientology, both on the record with their full names, describing that exact situation. Mark Fladd says the Chase Wave was used to open up lines of credit he couldn’t afford, and then by 2019 George McAlpine said the church wouldn’t take his Chase card, just as our original source said.

Three days. It took us three days to receive, publish, and then confirm this document, which appears to show Scientology coordinating a widespread fraud.

Three mother effing days.


What is the FBI’s excuse?


Leah Remini podcast: Pastor Willy Rice

Says Mike: “We welcome Dr. Willy Rice, Senior Pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Clearwater to the podcast. Willy has been one of the few community leaders who has taken a strong, public stance against the abuses of Scientology. We talk about the influence of Scientology in the community and the lie that you can a Christian and a Scientologist.” Listen to the episode right here!


Sign up for a daily email when we post a new story on Scientology.

Did you know you can get an email every morning when we post our daily Scientology story? We know some of the folks who come to the Underground Bunker aren’t here to talk about the politics of the day, and that’s why we created a daily politics feature over at our other blog, The Lowdown, and we ask readers to take their political discussions over there. And if you drop us a line at tonyo94 AT gmail, we’ll put you on the list so you get a morning reminder that a new Scientology story has been posted — and only for our Scientology stories.


Source Code

“The only other thing I could tell that you really need to know about this meter is, when it’s all the way up to the vicinity of 6.0 or even into the black, you’re reading a thetan who believes he is dead. Completely aside from the theta bop, these are the readings of a body if it were dead: But the thetan believes he’s dead up that high. I learned this from plants. When plants think they’re dead, man, they rise right up there and there they are. And a plant can conceive that it’s dead long before it departs. It says, ‘I’m dead,’ goes right on up here to 6.0. After that, you get no needle motion. You get nothing.” — L. Ron Hubbard, November 16, 1959



Avast, Ye Mateys

“You know, I get an idea of what it must be like for the Space Command Vessel ‘Astra’ to land amongst the Ooglie-Booglies and try to explain their perfectly innocent but super modern procedures for measuring gravity and communicating. They turn on an intercomm and the Ooglie-Booglies go into terror rumours that the Astra keeps live men in little boxes! Even staid old England has it that we deal in black magic! Certainly anything that works as fast as our tech and admin MUST be magical! REASSURANCE is the keynote of showing anyone around this ship. Show them the fire dectors, the gyro room, the electro-log, the two radars, where they are on the chart, how lifeboats work, copies of the SWPB. Feed them well, give them lots of drinks. Whoever is in charge of the guests should be inventive of things to interest them and be REASSURING, noting and cheering up any misunderstoods. Make good friends out of the guests.” — The Commodore, November 16, 1969


Overheard in the FreeZone

“Don’t forget that LRH did a lot of research. I.e., why does the body sleep? Because of the photosynthesis cycle? Even if bodies were manufactured, why do cells retain memory in the form of engrams? Hmm. Also if bodies are manufactured you have to have a thetan in them to animate them, yeah? Hence an entity, yeah? Hmmm when people think they are famous well that’s a matter for auditing. The track is very long and there are many similar planets and times and lives operating on the same implants. Before bodies there were thetans and theta traps and war with MEST beings. I don’t care who thinks what they were and how fantastical it gets just if they blow charge.”


Past is Prologue

1995: Developments from the libel suit against Time Warner by the cult. “I have just received a copy of the judge’s decision in Church of Scientology, International vs. Time Warner, Inc., Time, Inc. Magazine Company, and Richard Behar. Time magazine asked for summary judgment…and got it (mostly.) This means that almost ALL of Scientology’s case has been thrown out of court! The only issue remaining is whether or not the following statement, from Time magazine’s May 6, 1991 cover story, is libelous: ‘One source of funds for the Los Angeles-based church is the notorious, self-regulated stock exchange in Vancouver, British Columbia, often called the scam capital of the world.’ Scientology will try to prove to a jury that this statement is libelous and was written with malice. All the other libel claims which Scientology had made against Time, for other things that were said in the same article, have been thrown out. The entire case has been reduced to these 29 words (27 if you count hyphenated words as one.)”



Random Howdy

“My wife used to say the reason I was a such a morbid negative weirdo was because of all the horrible stories my dad use to tell me about Korea and WWII and all the other mondo cane shit he saw during his time in the merchant marines. I think she may have been right.”


Full Court Press: What we’re watching at the Underground Bunker

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Next hearing set for February 8. Trial scheduled for August 29, 2022.
Jay and Jeff Spina, Medicare fraud: Jay sentenced to 9 years in prison. Jeff’s sentencing to be scheduled.
Hanan and Rizza Islam and other family members, Medi-Cal fraud: Pretrial conference December 17 in Los Angeles
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud: Next pretrial conference set for November 19.
Joseph ‘Ben’ Barton, Medicare fraud: Pleaded guilty, awaiting sentencing.

Civil litigation:
Luis and Rocio Garcia v. Scientology: Eleventh Circuit affirmed ruling granting Scientology’s motion for arbitration. Garcias considering next move.
Valerie Haney v. Scientology: Forced to ‘religious arbitration.’ US Supreme Court denied Valerie’s petition Oct 4.
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: California Supreme Court granted review on May 26 and asked the Second Appellate Division to direct Judge Steven Kleifield to show cause why he granted Scientology’s motion for arbitration. Oral arguments held November 2, awaiting a ruling.
Matt and Kathy Feschbach tax debt: Eleventh Circuit ruled on Sept 9, 2020 that Feshbachs can’t discharge IRS debt in bankruptcy. Dec 17: Feshbachs sign court judgment obliging them to pay entire $3.674 million tax debt, plus interest from Nov 19.
Brian Statler Sr v. City of Inglewood: Third amended complaint filed, trial set for June 28, 2022.
Author Steve Cannane defamation trial: Trial concluded, Cannane victorious, awarded court costs. Case appealed on Dec 23. Appeal hearing held Aug 23-27. Awaiting a ruling.



We first broke the news of the LAPD’s investigation of Scientology celebrity Danny Masterson on rape allegations in 2017, and we’ve been covering the story every step of the way since then. At this page we’ve collected our most important links, including our four days in Los Angeles covering the preliminary hearing and its ruling, which has Danny facing trial and the potential sentence of 45 years to life in prison.


After the success of their double-Emmy-winning, three-season A&E series ‘Scientology and the Aftermath,’ Leah Remini and Mike Rinder continue the conversation on their podcast, ‘Scientology: Fair Game.’ We’ve created a landing page where you can hear all of the episodes so far.


An episode-by-episode guide to Leah Remini’s three-season, double-Emmy winning series that changed everything for Scientology watching. Originally aired from 2016 to 2019 on the A&E network, and now on Netflix.


Find your favorite Hubbardite celeb at this index page — or suggest someone to add to the list!

Other links: SCIENTOLOGY BLACK OPS: Tom Cruise and dirty tricks. Scientology’s Ideal Orgs, from one end of the planet to the other. 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 a weekly series. How many have you read?


[ONE year ago] Judge in Danny Masterson lawsuit doubts Scientology ‘arbitration,’ sets hearing
[TWO years ago] Scientology banned his book and trashed him as an apostate. Here’s his full-throated reply!
[THREE years ago] Scientology’s ‘Super Power’ poster boy gets dunked on by yet another irked judge
[FOUR years ago] How Pete Griffiths sued a Scientologist and ended up being vilified by former friends
[FIVE years ago] Scientology’s websites try a little too hard to convince you that all is right in crazy town
[SIX years ago] Lisa McPherson in Orlando: What her hotel roommate witnessed, and the Slaughter rule
[SEVEN years ago] Sunday Funnies: Get yer boots on for some Scientology line dancing in Austin!
[EIGHT years ago] Jon Atack: Did Mary Sue Hubbard Doubt Scientology’s Key Experience?
[NINE years ago] Scientology’s Big Gamble: “Golden Age of Tech 2” Is Here!
[TEN years ago] Scientology Watching Gets Fancy!


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley (1952-2019) did not see his daughter Stephanie in his final 5,667 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 2,486 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,991 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,511 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,531 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,422 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,729 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,597 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,371 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 1,701 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,175 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,491 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,057 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,976 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,144 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,725 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,986 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,022 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,737 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,262 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 617 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,792 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,343 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,492 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,812 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,667 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,786 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,142 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,445 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,551 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,949 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,825 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,408 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,903 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,157 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,266 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on November 16, 2021 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, 1995-2020 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2020), 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, 15 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 | Battling Babe-Hounds: Ross Jeffries v. R. Don Steele


Tony Ortega at The Daily Beast


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