BOSTON -- George Kattar, convicted last December of trying to extort $100,000 from the Church of Scientology, was sentenced Wednesday to six years in prison and fined $10,000, court officials said.
Kattar, 57, of Methuen, also was ordered by U.S. District Judge John McNaught to make restitution of $33,333 to the group.
He successfully collected $30,000 of a promised $100,000 reward from the church for giving them information that turned out to be false about an attempt to pass a forged $1.5 million check.
Kattar was arrested while trying to collect the remaining $67,000, officials said.
A federal jury convicted Kattar of extortion Dec. 29, but acquitted him on lesser charges, including fraud and receiving stolen funds. The jury also acquitted a co-defendant, Harvey Brower, 49, of Swampscott, on all four charges against him.
The trial revolved around a $100,000 reward the church offered for information about an attempt to pass a $1.5 million forged check drawn on the account of church founder L. Ron Hubbard at the Bank of New England.
A former church official, Geoffrey Shervell, testified that Kattar threatened him in an attempt to collect the rest of the reward, telling him 'your days are numbered,' and boasting of his alleged connections to the Boston Mafia.
Lawyers for Kattar and Brower conceded that their clients provided church officials with false information implicating Boston lawyer Michael Flynn in the forgery attempt, but claimed no fraud was committed against the church.
According to testimony, church officials were trying to obtain derogatory information against Flynn in an effort to discredit him.
Flynn is a long-term enemy of the church, filing numerous suits against the group on behalf of dissaffected church members.