Graham Berry

Scientology Money in a Mormon Bank: More of the Secret Relationship Exposed

Tony Ortega today posted a most interesting article on Efrem Logreira, the 75 year old man whom the Church of Scientology clipped for $75,000 in a credit card scheme. Scientology wants to return the $75,000 to Logreira as this scam has blown up in its face. However, Mr. Logreira has been paying crippling amounts of monthly interest on the balance on the cards and therefore demands to recover interest in order to be made whole on the entire amount. Scientology does not appear interested in making Logreira whole and wants to pay only the balance on the credit cards less interest.

As we learn in Ortega’s story, Scientology’s long-time attorney Mr. Moxon presented Mr. Logreira’s counsel Graham Berry with the check shown above. This is where the Scientology Money Project is extremely interested as the check posted by Tony Ortega shows the Church of Scientology of Los Angeles Claims Verification Board to have its account with the California Bank & Trust Los Angeles Metro Branch.

California Bank & Trust Los Angeles Metro Branch is a subsidiary of Zions Bancorporation, one of America’s largest banks. Founded in 1873 by Mormon leader Brigham Young, the Mormon church once owned a majority interest in Zions Bank. Even after selling its interest, CEO Harris Henry Simmons is a Mormon as are many of Zions’ employees. Several Zions employees also hold political office in Utah.

Zions is a powerful bank with deep connections to the LDS Church and, now it appears, financial ties to the Church of Scientology. The Church of Scientology has long had a not-so-secret backchannel relationship with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and now we see one more element of the relationship. In a second check Ortega posted today, we see a check from Scientology’s Continental Liaison Office (CLO).  The account is held in same Los Angeles Metro branch of California Bank & Trust. 


A MORMON OFFICIAL DEFENDS SCIENTOLOGY

Jean Huysmans, Public Affairs Committee of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, publicly spoke on behalf of Scientology in a video produced by the Church of Scientology. In this video, praises L. Ron Hubbard and attacks psychiatric drugs. The presumption here is that Huysmans was fully authorized to do this video by the First Presidency in Salt Lake City.


SCANDALS

Zions Bancorporation is not without its scandals. In 2011, the bank was fined $8 million dollars for violating US laws related to anti-money laundering and bank secrecy laws. FinCen cited 132 suspicious offshore wire transfers into Zions offshore entities totaling $12.3 billion. Zions was fined $8 million. As we read in the Assessment of Civil Money Penalty issued by the US Department of the Treasury Financial Crimes Enforcement Network:

FinCEN has determined that Zions violated the BSA requirements: to establish and
implement an effective anti-money laundering (“AML”) program with respect to its casas de cambio (“CDC”) and foreign correspondent customers’ account relationships; timely file Suspicious Activity Reports (“SARs”); and comply with the foreign correspondent account regulation(s).

Zions’ foreign correspondent business was initially handled by its Financial Institutions Group (“FIG”), and focused on Mexico and countries within Latin America. In January 2007, the Bank restructured its correspondent banking from FIG to an International Correspondent Banking Group (“ICB”). At its height, the Bank had 54 foreign correspondent relationships that included 19 CDC accounts, 4 casas de bolsa (securities firms), 15 foreign banks-primarily from Latin America-and 3 foreign corporation customers. The services provided by the Bank to these customers included wire transfers, Automated Clearing House (“ACH”) transactions, cash letter activity processed through remote deposit capture (“RDC”) technology, and deposits.
The Bank provided wire transfers, ACH transactions, deposits, RDC services and imaging for processing cash letter instruments to its foreign correspondent customers. The Bank launched its RDC product in January 2005 and realized a significant increase in activity involving its correspondent accounts in 2006 and 2007. In 2005, the volume of transactions using RDC exceeded hundreds of millions of dollars, and continued to increase into the billions of dollars in 2007.

Zions failed to implement an effective AML program for its foreign correspondent business reasonably designed to identify and timely report transactions that exhibited indicia of money laundering or other suspicious activity, considering the types of products and services offered by the Bank, the volume and scope of its business, and the nature of its customers. Zions failed to implement a program tailored to the risks inherent within its foreign correspondent business lines and geographical reach. As a result, Zions failed to timely file SARs representing billions of dollars in suspicious transactions, thus greatly diminishing the potential utility of such reports to both law
enforcement and regulatory agencies…

Internal Policies, Procedures, and Controls

Zions failed to implement an effective system of internal controls reasonably
designed to ensure compliance with the BSA and manage the risks of money laundering, in its CDC and foreign correspondent customers’ accounts. Zions lacked adequate written policies, procedures and controls reasonably designed to assess the risks of money laundering and ensure the detection and reporting of suspicious transactions with respect to its CDC and foreign correspondent customers’ accounts.


Zions Bancorporation — Assessment of Civil Money Penalty

Note: Hover your cursor over the document to invoke the page up/page down controls at the bottom of the document.

ZionsAssessment

Los Angeles Times: Private investigator for Church of Scientology alleges he was paid by Church attorney to recant statement to police

(Note: The following summary was written by Tony Ortega and is reprinted from his blog)


Kim Christensen, the L.A. Times reporter who broke the story last year about Scientology leader David Miscavige hiring private investigators Dwayne and Daniel Powell to follow his own father, Ron Miscavige, after Ron escaped from Scientology in 2012, has an important update today that is on the newspaper’s front page.

The most striking thing in Christensen’s story last year was that the Powells told West Allis, Wisconsin police that they had been told by David Miscavige personally simply to stand by and let Ron die when they observed him having what they thought was a heart attack. “If he dies, he dies,” David reportedly told them.

Dwayne Powell later submitted a declaration that he had been misquoted by the police in their report of his interview, and that he did not talk to David Miscavige. The police in Wisconsin stood by their report.

Now, today, buried fairly deep in a lengthy story about Ron’s recent memoir, “Ruthless,” Christensen drops a small bomb.

Christensen obtained pay records showing that Powell was given $16,000 in five payments after his 2013 arrest and just before his submission of the declaration, even though he was no longer following Ron Miscavige.

The pay disbursements had come from notorious Scientology lawyer Kendrick Moxon. Would Moxon pay someone to say things in a declaration that the church wanted to hear?

Christensen doesn’t say it, but we’ve already proved that Moxon would do such a thing.

Back in 1999, we showed through documents that when a man named Robert Cipriano agreed to sign a false declaration accusing attorney Graham Berry of sexual improprieties in his past, Moxon arranged for Cipriano to get a job, rented him a place to live, and leased him a car.

Moxon, naturally, denied to the Times that his payments to Powell had anything to do with Powell issuing his declaration denying that he’d talked to Miscavige.

In the spring of 2015, just weeks before Powell signed the declaration, a Scientology attorney paid him at least $16,000 for “security” services in five payments, according to check stubs obtained by The Times. The checks were written on the trust account of Kendrick Moxon, a prominent Scientology attorney in Los Angeles, the records show.

Reached by phone, Powell confirmed the payments but would not comment on them.

But he did say that he had not worked for the church after giving up his Florida private investigator’s license in 2014, when he was indicted on a federal charge of possessing an illegal silencer. It was dismissed when he entered a pretrial diversion program.

Moxon told The Times in a written response that Powell performed “security and research services” for his firm last year.

“The relationship between this firm and any investigators I retain is privileged and confidential,” he wrote. “However, I can categorically state for the record that no payments were made to Mr. Powell for the testimony in his truthful declaration.”

But Powell told the Times that he was paid to write the declaration, which was written for him and which he signed in a meeting that took ten minutes.

So what have we learned? That Dwayne Powell did tell West Allis police that David Miscavige told him to stand by and watch Ron Miscavige die. (Ron actually wasn’t having a heart attack.) And that fact becoming public freaked out Scientology so much it paid Powell $16,000 to lie and claim that he’d said no such thing.

But once again, Moxon is busted by his own documents. And congratulations to the L.A. Times!


Excerpts from the Los Angeles Times story:

For more than a year, Powell told detectives, he and his son had followed Miscavige, eavesdropped on him and spied on his emails. They were paid $10,000 a week through an intermediary, he told police, explaining that David Miscavige was the “main client.”

On one outing, Powell told police, he saw Ron Miscavige clutch his chest while loading his car and thought he was having a heart attack. He called his go-between for instructions, and minutes later a man who identified himself as David Miscavige called back and told him that “if it was Ron’s time to die, to let him die and not intervene in any way,” a police report states…

…Police in that Milwaukee suburb stand by their account: “There is no confusion in the statements that were made by Dwayne and Daniel Powell,” Chief Patrick Mitchell said in an email.

Now, in the latest twist in the saga of church-sanctioned surveillance, Powell says he was paid thousands of dollars to sign the declaration after church attorneys summoned him to a meeting last year in Atlanta.

“The whole meeting took less than 10 minutes,” he said. “They said, ‘This is what this is, and this is what it’s for. Goodbye and good luck.’ ”