RICO-based lawsuit filed against Tom Cruise & Church of Scientology

Tom Cruise’s legal problems are heating up. He is named in a a $250 million federal lawsuit against the Church of Scientology by former member (and vocal critic) Peter Letterese. The most interesting part of the suit is that it’s been filed under a RICO statute – which is a law that allows the government to go after and break up organized crime.

It’s important to note that the government isn’t indicting anyone under RICO, but that Letterese is using a provision in the RICO Act to file a civil lawsuit against the church and various high-ranking members. In order for the lawsuit not to be thrown out, Letterese will have to prove in court that the Church of Scientology really is a criminal organization under RICO – which isn’t that far fetched.

Ex-Scientologist Peter Letterese, a longtime critic of the church, filed suit in Southern District Court in Florida on July 15 alleging, among other things, that members of the church harassed him after he left.

In court papers provided to The News by investigator Paul Barresi, Letterese claims a member of the church phoned his lawyer at home, and when the lawyer’s wife answered, said he was her husband’s homosexual lover. Barresi, who has done investigative work on behalf of Cruise, tells us: “[Letterese] is just including a celebrity name to get attention.”

Letterese calls the church a “crime syndicate” and wants it broken up under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization law, just as the feds have broken up Mafia families.

He singles out Cruise, who’s made no secret of his religion, saying that Scientology head David Miscavage is “aided and abetted by the actions of Tom Cruise, his right-hand man for foreign and domestic promotion, as well as for foreign and domestic lobbying. He has assisted the syndicate in acquiring funds and [made] his own donations of money believed to be in the multiple tens of millions of dollars.”

[From the Daily News]

The civil suit provision allows an individual to go after the crime organization for treble damages. Which means that if he won, the judge or jury could award Letterese triple the amount of the actual damages. As an individual, this is his likely motivation, since his civil lawsuit can’t break up a criminal organization like a federal indictment.

Letterese had a lawsuit against the church thrown out earlier this month by the federal Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. That suit was over Scientology’s use of the book, “Effective Sales Closing Techniques,” – which Letterese bought the rights to after the author died. The suit was thrown out and he was fined $266,000.

Paul Barresi – the “investigator” who provided the papers and information to the Daily News – isn’t exactly the most reputable guy. He was deeply entrenched in the Anthony Pellicano case, used to act and direct porn, and is generally one hell of a shady guy. So anything he says should be taken with one big grain of salt.

The lawsuit is pretty interesting, and makes me wonder if it might make the federal government take a closer look at the church and their finances. They have a long history of committing criminal acts ranging from kidnapping to accusations of murder. I’m sure they wouldn’t appreciate having their finances leafed through by the government. And although it sounds complex, RICO charges are relatively easy to prove it court because they are about “patterns of behavior as opposed to criminal acts.” Most often those indicted end up pleading to lesser charges – since each RICO charge can lead to 20 years in prison.

It’ll be very interesting to see where this case goes, and what kind of information comes out about Scientology. It seems like the general consciousness has really been raised about this dangerous cult. Whereas before they were just some wackos to snicker at, the average person on the street is much more likely to have heard about the dangerous – and often criminal – side to this so-called “church.”

Additional research for this article came from Wikipedia.

Here’s a Scientology video that circulated on the net a few months ago. Just gives an idea as to the craziness.

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44 Responses to “RICO-based lawsuit filed against Tom Cruise & Church of Scientology”

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  1. Anon says:

    Operation Shitstorm is now in effect. Contact local cells for area-specific instructions.

  2. Bodhi says:

    Wow, this is gonna get CRAZY! I hope you keep us updated, JayBird!

  3. Lauri says:

    Letterese better watch his back. Those whacked out scientologists are reputed to get rid of their enemies. He could be putting himself in a lot of danger.

  4. ri23 says:

    All Scientology could come up with as an initial retaliation was to call some guy’s wife and call him gay? Wow, what a burn. They may as well have told her he has cooties.

  5. Scott F. says:

    I don’t even care if cases like this are winners – I just love seeing them. Any time you get something public like this, it’s a chance to drag as much of their dirty laundry and secret bullshit out in front of the public as possible.

    Scientology thrived for decades on the basis that very few people actually knew anything about it. That’s changed, and I’m hoping it signals the final death knell of this creepy and criminal organization.

  6. heatherrr says:

    aghhhhh my head is going to explode after watching that video.
    holy crap.

    I think I need counseling to recover from it. :D

  7. Lauri says:

    I could only watch the first 2 minutes. How can supposedly sane individuals buy into that load of crap?

  8. CelebitchyFAN says:

    That was bizarre, to say the least. Can you imagine having to sit through, what I’m guessing to be, HOURS of that blibber-blabbing nonsense? And then to BELIEVE IT!! They all need medication. They’re just in denial.

  9. justpicky says:

    It’s pretty bad , when Tom has his mother and sister lives with him . If that’s tacky . Tom’s a big boy now , he doesn’t need to be hanging on his mother’s shirt tail anylonger .

    Tom is a ‘DRAMA KING . He is one person I already boycotted yearsssssss ago . Yes Scientology is a Cult, brainwashing . He paid Katy $5 million dollars to marry him , if katy and him divorce he will pay her and suri $30 million a piece . Nicole she was smart enough to get away from him . Because Tom is controlling . Suri isn’t his real daughter either , because he said on “live tv” ,he couldn’t have children , he said this years ago .

  10. Lace says:

    Wow. I could only stand to watch 3 minutes of that video! I think I need to take an antidepresent now! Physchos man I tell ya. Tom Cruise has def gone off the deep end into an ocean of a blind blowing cult oraganization. Poor Katie Holmes, she looks like a freaking zombie now. Cruise def had a plan when he met her….he wanted to find a nieve young girl who didnt know much and was star stuck and transform her into someone like him. So sad. About this whole is Suri Tom Cruises baby? Hmm his first wife, he never had kids and she wanted them. Then He married Nichole Kidman and they adopted kids for some reason cause now we can all tell Nichole can have kids. I dont think Mr. Cruise can have kids……SCARY!!!!!!

  11. daisy424 says:

    Why is Scientology repeatedly referred to as a religion? “The Church of Scientology”
    Cult or club is the term that comes to my mind, but I agree Scott, creepy and criminal organization is the best term.

  12. elisha says:

    Tom Cruise sucks but I love his suit in the header. From the knees up anyway. It’s so Victorian looking.

  13. Minty D says:

    Holy crap! these guys would give christians and catholics a run for their money… you know, the guys and girls who buy into the whole “our leader made everything, do everything his way or you’ll burn in hell” you know HELL big red guy with horns.
    Scientology sure sounds like a religion to me.

  14. Snowblood says:

    This is SUCH exciting news!! When I just now came to Celebitchy and saw that thread title, I got a leap-thrill and thought, “YES! Finally it’s started, the cult is goin’ down.” This is definitely going to incur the extreme interest of the government, now, and this will be so, so interesting & thrilling to watch play out and unfold.

  15. J9 says:

    Watch to see Tom have a full on nervous breakdown if his organization is finally placed in the sun and revealed as the scamming baloney organization it truly is. You can already see the cracks. This group thrives on breaking down a person mentally and he is a full-blown believer. When the balloon pops, so goes his psyche.

  16. Because I say So says:

    Holy crap! Watching that video made me (doubly) aware of how insidious they really are! I can’t help but think that their campaign against psychiatry isn’t about really helping people but it’s because the profession has the most potential to show them as frauds. As as aside, I have my own issues with psychiatry, but in no way do I think vitamins are a cure-all to mental illness.

    I’ll be curious to see how the cults’ lawyers try to tap dance their way out of this one. Bring on the pain!

  17. Scott F. says:

    Minty D – Why is it every time someone brings up Scientology, some moron has to try to compare it with Christianity?

    First, it’s not their beliefs that most of us have a problem with. This country is about religious freedom, and you can believe we were all sired from a giant turnip for all I care. We have a problem with their METHODS. Which include kidnapping, extortion, wrongful death incidents, campaigns of blackmail and intimidation, and possibly murder.

    Oh, and they also want to get all the crazies in the world off their meds because psychology is apparently responsible for more damage than Hitler.

    It’s just kind of icing on the cake that they believe they’re possessed by dead alien souls – mainly because it’s just that much easier to make them look like idiots.

    But trying to compare $cientology to Christianity just goes to show you know very little about either.

    For instance, this gem: “our leader made everything, do everything his way or you’ll burn in hell”

    Far as I know, Scientology has no ‘creation myth’. It only deals with a bad ‘space opera’ that happened millions of years ago. Yet again, a reason why it’s not really a religion. It attempts to solve none of the big questions: why are we here, what are we supposed to be doing, what happens when we die, ect.

    So please, before you slander an entire religion, crack a damn book.

  18. geronimo says:

    I’m with Scott F, very much on the side of this coming kicking and screaming into the public arena, ideally with all the glorious, gory details, regardless of the outcome. Anything that helps bring the ‘end’ closer to the ‘nigh’ as far as scientology is concerned is fine by me.

  19. Kelly says:

    This is scary.
    I remember a guy who found out something about Tom and Katie’s wedding and had pictures of something they did before the ceremony and was found dead.

    He left a note so the police decided it was probably suicide, but his family and friends claim he wasn’t depressed or anything.

    I never understood why the police didn’t investigate the option that they forced him to wtite a not and then killed him.

    They seem like a very dangerous cult.

  20. SeVen says:

    I’m with Anon on this one. I cant wait for these fuckers to get what they deserve for all the innocents theyve killed.

  21. poopie says:

    Can’t WAIT to see TinyTom and his ilk from the CULT crater !! BRING IT ON !!

  22. Chrissie says:

    I agree including Tom Cruise is for attention, a but far fetched, I doubt this will get anywhere though. That Beghe outing was hailed as ground breaking, it did not head anywhere. Good luck to him. He must be really broke to head down this road.

  23. Minty D says:

    hey Scott f. What I was TRYING to say was that the video reminded me of the God channel type of insane evangelists. Not all Catholics or Christians. (note to self: don’t drink and type) Mom was right, never discuss religion at the dinner table.. Let’s stick to making fun of his hair instead.. Now THAT deserves it’s own crazy followers!

  24. tina says:

    wow that video makes absolutely no sense at all. it gives me a headache. scientologists should seriously get over themselves and learn that people hate them for all the right reasons.

  25. SolitaryAngel says:


    This is exciting–I sure am going to be following this story very very closely. Man, I hope this case does some good–but I am concerned about this guy surviving, as some have mentioned, people who go against $cientology do have an odd tendency to die. We can all thank Tom Cruise for one thing though–genuine thanks to him for being so outspoken about this horrible cult, so that more of us are becoming aware of just how dangerous $cientology really is. Thanks to him, there are many gullible people out there now who won’t be swallowing their propaganda hook, line and sinker.

    This video made my head want to explode. DAMN! And people honestly believe this crapola? I gotta go now–I’m off to take a bath in some holy water(and I’m not even Catholic)and hope that gets the slime off… 8O

  26. snappyfish says:

    RICO laws are in place to prevent the crime of racketeering which is EXACTLY what the “church” of scientology is all about. The cost that each ‘member’ must pay to work their way up in the ranks.

    That some members are never included in all aspects of the “church” due to their inablity to bring in the big bucks.

    This is fabulous. This might be better than all the trials of the Teflon Don during the Gotti RICO trials. When he was still the no-stick mobster.

  27. RAN says:

    Could it be true? Could we all agree on this article, this cult, this end to the craziness? If so…I’M handing out the drinks! This is truly a first. 8) :lol:

  28. I choose me says:

    Just watched the video. 8O
    I’ve got chills and not the good kind.
    Pour me a good stiff one RAN. I need some vodka on the rocks stat.

  29. Tanille says:

    wow, that hurt my head, what the hell was he talkin about that whole time. It almost sounded like another language 8O

  30. daisy424 says:

    Extra salt on my margarita :-)

  31. breederina says:

    My, this is good news, hope it plays out large and loud.
    Consider the guacamole and mini lobster tacos covered.

  32. bros says:

    this is almost as good as the news that china is suing sharon stone for a billion dollars, for her comments causing emotional damage. funny lawsuit day i guess.

  33. xiaoecho says:

    Wow! That video is telling. The whole set up looks incredibly Facistic, as if they’re aping the Nazi’s. The giant portrait of father Hubbard could be Hitler – that bloke (is it Miscavage?) could be Goebbels whipping the crowd into a frenzy while promising to dominate the world after ridding it of the percieved enemy. The brainwashed masses cheering and clapping on cue – It’s all so reminiscent of the Nuremberg rally, if on a smaller scale.
    The scary thing is, there are so many of them!

  34. Scorn says:

    Because I say so- You said most of it for me. I hope the RICO is able to bring them down. Like vampires, they will burn to a crisp in the light of day. And this truly looked like the throngs of people in 1930′s Germany in a mass hynotic state. Very, Very disturbing. They are akin to murder bombers in a nursery school playground during recess. They need to be stopped. Anonymous, are you still on the trail of these people? If so, kick it up a notch please.

  35. Annette says:

    it got the attention for using tom cruise’s name. it has already lost steam, sorry for those who thought it was a grand break through that would shake the world.

  36. PPROO says:

    How on earth can there be an entire auditorium full of people listening to and applauding for that crap??? lost souls….

  37. gg says:

    That video: 8O rotfl! :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

    You go, Scott! ::Hands a case of Dom around to everyone. Except the suckees slamming all religions. Shame on you! And $cilontology is a Wacko Crime Cult, not a religion.

    Annette, this is garnering just the gigantic amount of negative publicity it is designed to generate. And it’s spreading like WILDFIRE. So, nice try, $cilon. Nobody here pays heed to this totally absurd and sick Cult. They may as well be Nazis.

    Hell, Jabberwocky makes a ton of sense compared to this utter idiocy. :lol:

    You know, I’m really starting to believe the Katie insemination thing. TinyTom needed to find a female of the species that already looked just like him and was naive enough to buy it all. No wonder he was so happy to find her. cheezus.

  38. SolitaryAngel says:

    I don’t think there’s anything scarier than a religious zealot; they think that they’re always right, and anyone who dares defy their beliefs only makes them that much more determined. They scare me! :roll:

    RUN, extra salt on MY margarita, too please–and I called for pizza already–hope you guys like extra cheese!!

  39. sallysitwell says:

    Mr. Plaintiff should be very, very careful…body guards and bullet-proof vests careful. Scientology is scary business and they take their pyramid scheme and failed sci-fi writer founder very seriously.

  40. mizzmish says:

    How is this RICO? See now when people have no way to really sue, they sue under RICO. The RICO act was created predominantly to go after the entire crime organization like the Mafia instead of having to go after individuals. Essentially…it makes it unlawful for a person to use an enterprise to launder money generated by a pattern of racketeering activity…it makes it unlawful for a person to acquire or maintain an interest in an enterprise through a pattern of racketeering activity and under CIVIL law….makes it unlawful for a person to manipulate an enterprise for purposes of engaging in, concealing, or benefiting from a pattern of racketeering activity.

    I agree they are shady and full of shit but come on… what a waste of tax dollars here. They are not in violation of the RICO act. This just pisses me off because whatever State this is being tried in…they are paying for this circus and the guy suing is the ONLY one that comes out ahead.

    If the Govt thought there was a RICO violation you would absolutely have seen a criminal investigation. This is hogwash.

  41. anonym says:

    Yes, Tom Cruise was included to get the public’s attention, and it seemed to have worked.

  42. grots says:

    I am surprised no one committed on Kimora Lee Simmons targeting the young African Americans by handing out books from this so called cult called Scientology. People need to educate themselves on this cult and the stuff they are passing out trying to recruit members. Beware of what your children read and who they look up to. The next time you by any baby phat products just remember you are just making another Scientologist richer. Take a stand against this cult, they are only as strong as you let them be!

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