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Scientology minister stole $600 million in massive fraud

The scales of justice

A man was unfairly sacked for not being "fun"

Religious ministers should really be people you can trust, not people who scam you.

Unfortunately, as has been seen in numerous causes of corruption and sex abuse over the years, this is not always the case.

The actions of a minority of depraved criminals undo a lot of the extraordinary work done by a great many good people of all religions around the world.

READ MORE: THE $3 MILLION FRAUD INVOLVING BARACK OBAMA AND GEORGE W. BUSH’S SPIRITUAL ADVISER

One of these criminals was Reed Skatlin, a minister of Scientology.

Instead of using his position to do good, he used it to enrich himself.

He set up an unlicensed investment club, which ran for 15 years and managed to take cash from around 800 investors.

Several Hollywood actors, including Giovanni Ribisi, who starred in Avatar, were taken in by the scam.

The Reed Slatkin Investment Club claimed it was producing annual returns of around 24 percent a year through a combination of clever stock trades and investments in start-up companies.

In fact, the money was either wasted on useless business projects, including a theme park that was never built, or just taken by Slatkin himself.

He used the cash to buy art, cars, and airplanes.

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How did Reed Slatkin get caught?

Slatkin had refused to register as an investment adviser, which led to a lot of attention from regulators.

He had promised to get out of the investment management industry but continued to take in more and more money.

Disgruntled investors eventually hit him with multiple lawsuits and Slatkin was declared bankrupt.

The suits brought Slatkin further attention from the FBI and IRS.

In 2003, Slatkin was jailed for 14 years after admitting mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, and obstruction of justice.

Slatkin died of a heart attack in 2015.

The scam saw $593 million invested in the fund, but only around half was returned to investors.

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