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Five months later, Ponzi schemer and Scientologist Reed Slatkin is still dead


In 2008, the website Business Pundit listed Scientologist Reed Slatkin’s Ponzi scheme as the 8th worst in all history…

Earthlink co-founder and Scientology minister Reed Slatkin posed as a brilliant investment advisor for A-list Hollywood residents and corporate bosses. Working out of his garage, Slatkin cheated the rich and famous out of roughly $593 million, creating fake statements referring back to fake brokerage firms to prove his mettle. He fed the Church of Scientology with millions of his winnings. In 2000, the SEC caught wind that Slatkin wasn’t licensed, and busted the scheme.

Although later eclipsed by Bernie Madoff and his billions, Slatkin’s Ponzi scheme was one of the largest in American history. It was the Los Angeles Times that first broke the news, in 2001, that Slatkin was under investigation by the SEC.


Kim Masters wrote a great story about Slatkin for Esquire that year. In Kim’s piece, readers learned that Reed’s uncle was Phil Spickler, father to actress Mimi Rogers, who was Reed’s cousin. Kim also pointed out that Reed got his start in investing from fellow Scientologist and California entrepreneur Bob Duggan.

CNBC, in 2008, even did an episode of “American Greed” on Slatkin and his fraud, and noted that after surrendering himself in 2002, Reed pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 14 years in prison.

There was another round of media when Slatkin was released from a halfway house in 2013 after serving 10 years of his sentence.

But five months after Reed dropped dead of a heart attack on June 20, the only news outlet that has reported his death is the Underground Bunker.

What gives? We have to express surprise that the news organizations which feasted on the Reed Slatkin story a decade ago, with its salacious mix of Hollywood, Scientology, and greed, are now so uninterested in the man that they wouldn’t at least give up space for a small digest item about his demise.

Has the L.A. Times just not heard that one of the country’s biggest fraudsters expired in the middle of that newspaper’s service area, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center on Beverly Boulevard in West Hollywood? Earlier this year, the Times broke the biggest Scientology story it’s had in a decade, about Scientology leader David Miscavige hiring private eyes at $10,000 a week to follow his own father, who escaped from the organization’s secretive international base near Hemet in 2012. But except for that excellent piece by Kim Christensen, LA’s paper of record has seemed a lot less curious about Scientology in recent years, even as it sits amid the greatest concentration of Scientologists in the world (such as it is).

Well, OK, we’ll keep this story to ourselves for now. But just for fun, we had a look to see if Reed’s expiration has managed to show up now on official government databases, which usually take some time to update. And yep, any enterprising reporter can now confirm with a few keystrokes what we reported back in June. That on Saturday, June 20, former Ponzi schemer Reed Slatkin, born January 22, 1949, died at 8700 Beverly Boulevard, the address for Cedars-Sinai. He was aged 66. And his crimes were really fascinating. Even worth a news story, we’d wager.


FHCabanasBabywatch, day two: Lisa McPherson in Room 174

After Lisa McPherson’s strange first full day in a cabana room at the Fort Harrison Hotel with Susanne Schnurrenberger, another Susanne — Susanne Reich — came in to help Schnurrenberger that night and stay with Lisa into the morning of her second day.

Reich had known Lisa for some time, but she was struck by how totally different Lisa seemed now. Rather than sleep, Lisa sat in bed and simply counted to ten, over and over. Then, at one point, she seemed to have a sudden moment of clarity and recognized Reich.

Earlier on Sunday, Lisa had tried to provoke Schnurrenberger by teasing her, but now, her provocations were getting more intense. When the Susannes tried to get Lisa to eat a banana, for example, she took it all in her mouth and then spit it out at them. She also threw everything on a table onto the floor, including a drinking glass. As a precaution, the women began removing things from the room that might break or that Lisa might use as a weapon.

There were two beds in the cabana room, and when they put Lisa into one, she’d roll out of it in defiance. Reich moved one of the beds against the wall and put Lisa in it, and then stayed by its side so she’d stop doing that. They finally got Lisa to get some sleep after Schnurrenberger laid down in the bed next to Lisa and Lisa put an arm around her.

On Monday — November 20 — Susanne Reich left at about 9 am, but later another Scientology Sea Org worker, Emma Schamehorn, came in to help Schnurrenberger, and they had more problems trying to get Lisa to eat or drink. At one point, Lisa threw down a glass of water she was given.

For much of her second day, Lisa counted numbers, or stared at the light fixtures.

“You have to follow light, as light is life,” she said.



We didn’t get a chance to include photos in our book, so we’ve posted them at a dedicated page. Reader Sookie put together a complete index and we’re hosting it here on the website. Copies of the paperback version of ‘The Unbreakable Miss Lovely’ are on sale at Amazon. The Kindle edition is also available, and shipping instantly.

Our book tour is concluded for now. (But you can re-experience it through this nifty interactive map!) We’ll let you know about future appearances. Previous events: Santa Barbara (5/16), Hollywood (5/17), Orange County (5/17), San Diego (5/20), San Francisco (5/22), New York (6/11), Chicago (6/20), Toronto (6/22), Clearwater (6/28), Washington DC (7/12), Hartford (7/14), Denver (7/17), Dallas (7/20), Houston (7/22), San Antonio (7/24), Austin (7/25), Paris (7/29), London (8/4), Boston (8/24), Phoenix (9/15), Cleveland (9/23), Minneapolis (9/24), Portland (9/27), Seattle (9/28), Vancouver BC (9/29), Sydney (10/23), Melbourne (10/25), Adelaide (10/28), Perth (10/30)


Posted by Tony Ortega on November 20, 2015 at 07:00

E-mail your tips and story ideas to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. Here at the Bunker we try to have a post up every morning at 7 AM Eastern (Noon GMT), and on some days we post an afternoon story at around 2 PM. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…

BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of LA attorney and former church member Vance Woodward

UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists

GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice

SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts

PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | Scientology’s Private Dancer
The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill
The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ

Our Guide to Alex Gibney’s film ‘Going Clear,’ and our pages about its principal figures…
Jason Beghe | Tom DeVocht | Sara Goldberg | Paul Haggis | Mark “Marty” Rathbun | Mike Rinder | Spanky Taylor | Hana Whitfield


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