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$100G Scientology 'scam' // Feds charge 2 with Mob connections

Title: $100G Scientology 'scam' // Feds charge 2 with Mob connections
Date: Thursday, 29 May 1986
Publisher: Boston Herald
Author: Jim MacLaughlin
Main source: link (52 KiB)

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A DISBARRED lawyer with Mob connections and a Methuen man linked to organized crime were arrested yesterday and charged with trying to bilk the Church of Scientology out of $100,000, said officials.

The alleged scam netted Harvey Brower, 49, of Swampscott, and George T. Kattar, 67, of Methuen, $33,333 before they were arrested by FBI agents, said the US. Attorney's office.

The two were indicted by a federal grand jury in Boston May 23 and charged with fraud, extortion and other offenses, including threatening church officials with violence.

The men pleaded innocent at their arraignment in U.S. District Court in Boston yesterday, and trial was scheduled for July 16.

Brower was released without having to post cash bail, but Kattar was held for a detention hearing tomorrow because, "the government alleged that he is a danger to the community and potential witnesses," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Brackett B. Denniston III.

The arrests stem from a 1982 incident in which someone failed in an attempt to open an account in New York with a $2-million counterfeit check drawn on the Boston-based Bank of New England from the account of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard.

Following the attempt, a Los Angeles private eye, representing a law firm for the church, took out ads in several newspapers — Including The Boston Herald — offering $100,000 for information leading to the check forger.

"It is alleged that Kattar and Brower provided fictional information to representatives of the Church of Scientology and stole the initial $33,333 payment," according to the U.S. Attorney's office.

The scheme allegedly took place between September and December of 1984.

Kattar was linked to New England Mob figures during a 1971 U.S. Senate subcommittee hearing on organized crime, and is presently the subject of an FBI investigation of alleged arms smuggling to Lebanon.

Brower, who had a law practice in Lawrence, was disbarred in 1979.

Before being disbarred, Brower represented Raymond L.S. Patriarca, once the reputed head of New England organized crime.