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SCIENTOLOGIST ARRESTED IN L.A. COURT: Narconon fraud defendants in wild scene

[Hanan Islam and her son Rizza]

Hanan Islam, a Scientologist who is accused of using a Scientology Narconon drug rehab and unwitting high school students to defraud millions from the state Medi-Cal program, was arrested today in the courtroom of Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor, who also issued an arrest warrant for one of Islam’s co-defendants. [Update: Hanan’s son Rizza Islam was also arrested for contempt of court.]

The hearing was supposed to be a preliminary hearing that has been delayed in the case for years. Most recently, Hanan, 60, and her son Ronnie “Rizza” Islam, 29, had tried to delay the criminal case with “sovereign citizen” conspiracy theories that they were not the people who should be facing prosecution.

In a wild scene described to us by Underground Bunker correspondent Jeffrey Augustine, deputies rushed into the courtroom when the arrest was made and the court was cleared.

“Hanan pulled her ‘sovereign citizen’ argument again and refused to identify herself as anything other than the ‘authorized representative’ of the defendant. Judge Pastor ordered her to stop talking unless she was the named defendant. She kept talking over Judge Pastor and he ordered her arrested,” Augustine tells us.

Earlier, as the hearing was scheduled to begin, Augustine told us that the defense attorneys were all in place, but none of their clients had showed up.


“The defense attorneys are frantically calling their clients,” Augustine told us. When the defendants then showed up late, it was clearly in a show of defiance, he says.

And then, like the last time, they tried to advance sovereign citizen arguments for why they should be immune to prosecution.

“The defendants have tried to serve documents in the court themselves,” Augustine said. “The court refuses to accept them as the defendants have attorneys and they have no standing to represent themselves pro per.” (Augustine later learned that in these bogus documents, the Islams tried to “fire” Judge Pastor from the case.)

Then, there was a break, and Augustine was outside the court and heard Hanan arguing with her attorney that she is not a US citizen and can’t be prosecuted.

When she then argued with Judge Pastor, he had her taken into custody. He also issued a bench warrant for the one defendant who is not a member of the Islam family, Bayon Beverly Washington, 46, who did not show up today.

Augustine is back in the courtroom, and we’re receiving reports from him and will add more to this story as the hearing develops.

For those just joining us on this story, a bit of background: Almost four years ago we broke the story here at the Underground Bunker of a wild criminal case developing in Los Angeles. Hanan Islam and three of her children and others were arrested and faced felony charges for running a multi-million dollar scam involving a jackleg Scientology drug rehab clinic in Compton, a working class suburb. According to the indictments filed by state investigators, Hanan and the other defendants defrauded the state Medi-Cal insurance program with a scheme that involved shuttling unwitting high school students to the Scientology clinic for drug addiction treatments they didn’t need so Medi-Cal could be fraudulently billed.

The state’s investigation not only resulted in felony charges for Islam and her children, but three African-American educators — two high school principals and the head coach of the legendary Dominguez High School football program — also faced charges and lost their jobs, accused of supplying the students to the Islams for their scheme. Since those charges were first filed in 2015, the criminal case against Hanan Islam, her daughters Zakiyyah (37) and Nimat (42) and her son Rizza, and a clinic employee, Bayon Beverly Washington, has moved glacially through the Los Angeles Superior Court. (Another defendant, George Edward Newby III, 47, pleaded to a lesser charge, as did two of the educators. The third did not face prosecution.)

At a hearing on September 17, Hanan and Rizza argued that they were not the people identified as defendants in the case because of the way their names had been spelled in all capitals. It was a familiar and bizarre argument from the conspiracy theories of the sovereign citizen movement, and Judge Pastor did not put up with it.

Today, the preliminary hearing, featuring testimony from state investigators, was finally scheduled to occur after years of delays. As soon as we hear more from Augustine at the scene, we’ll add more.

Jeffrey’s latest report:

Rizza Islam was also arrested for contempt. The court reconvened. Hanan and Rizza reappeared in court in handcuffs. They seemed to have calmed down a lot.

Hanan wanted to represent herself, but she refuses to sign the waiver that’s required, because that would mean her admitting that she’s the defendant — so her sovereign citizen argument has her in a corner. Her attorney told the court that he wanted to resign, but the court wouldn’t allow it.

All defendants re-entered their not-guilty pleas and are seated and taken out of handcuffs.


Prosecution began its case and called Sam Richardson, special agent supervisor at the California Dept of Justice.

They’re starting very methodically, explaining how the Medi-Cal program works.

(Jeffrey goes back in. More later.)

UPDATE: Jeffrey’s full report, so far…

Hanan Islam was arrested for contempt of court after she persisted in arguing with Judge Pastor after he had ordered her to remain silent. The Bailiff ordered everyone to clear the courtroom immediately and so I did not witness the arrest. When court reconvened, it was learned that Rizza Islam had also been arrested for contempt of court.

All defendants have a right to be present at their preliminary criminal trial. When court was reconvened, Judge Pastor commenced and began the formal preliminary criminal trial.

Hanan Islam was lead into the courtroom in handcuffs from the holding cell in the antechamber where defendants are held. She was advised by the Judge that the formal preliminary trial had begun and she had a right as a defendant to be present. He read a section of the penal code requiring defendants to show decorum and respect for the court during proceedings. If a defendant will not comply and is disruptive they can be removed from the proceedings,

Hanan was asked by the Judge if she would obey the rules of court and wished to exercise her right to be present at the prelimimary trial. She said she refused to be seated where defendants are required to be seated as that would indicate her agreement with what she considered to be an unlawful procedure. Her refusal was duly noted by the court and she was escorted back to the holding cell by deputies.

When the proceedings began this morning, the defendants were not present. The Judge noted that he had received a note from the defendants in which they fired him. The Judge noted that the court will not receive such communications from the defendants as they have no standing with the court; all communications must come through their attorneys who have standing.

The defendants all arrived late to court in a show of defiance. Beverly Bayon Washington failed to appear and a bench warrant was issued for her arrest. Her attorney indicated that she may be out of the country.

His mother having been taken back to the holding cell, Rizza Islam next appeared in handcuffs. He stood with his ramrod straight posture and was polite. He agreed to comport himself during the preliminary. Hanan then reappeared and agreed to comport herself as well. Deputies removed the handcuffs from Rizza and Hanan Islam.


Hanan has backed herself into a corner with her sovereign citizen argument. She told the judge that she is the executrix of a natural person. However, in order to represent herself she has to sign a Faretta Waiver in California (google it). However, for Hanan to sign the required waiver she has to agree that she is Hanan Islam which she will not do. She insists she is a natural person and not a US citizen.

Hanan’s attorney asked the Judge if he could resign as her attorney; the Judge refused his request.

The Prosecutor opened with a CA Dept of Justice investigator on the stand. He is the investigator who took part in the raid on WLC. The dox are coming very rapidly and methodically.

UPDATE: Jeffrey says that the judge gave Hanan and Rizza five days in jail and fines of $1,000 each for contempt of court. But he might let them go on their own recognizance since they showed contrition.

Also, he only had a minute before going back into court, but Jeffrey says the prosecution case is “slicing and dicing” this, one document at a time. He is very impressed at the prosecution’s case and how methodical it is.

UPDATE: After the lunch break, the four defendants who showed up today (Hanan, her daughters Zakiyyah and Nimat, and her son Rizza), all asked to dismiss their attorneys and represent themselves pro per. All were denied by the judge except for Nimat, who agreed to sign the necessary waiver. But it means she has to be prepared to go right now, with no delay, he told her. The others are sticking to their sovereign citizen flummery and won’t give their “real names” on waivers, so they are stuck with their attorneys. [Additional: Nimat decided not to go pro per after all, and kept her attorney.]

UPDATE, 6:15 pm Eastern: Jeffrey has given us a taste of the kind of evidence the state is putting on the record today, evidence that should shake the city of Los Angeles, if its media bothered to look into it: The courtroom just heard about “Suite F,” a room at the World Literacy Crusade (the place that housed the Narconon scam run by the Islams) which housed the operation’s “ghost writers.”

The what?

These were people who had been hired after being given creative writing tests. Their job was to invent progress reports, at five dollars a page, for the high school students who had been unwittingly brought into the scam.

The two high school principals and the football coach recruited for the scam had access to the medical records of the students, so they knew which ones already qualified for Medi-Cal coverage.

So, a group of 50 students supplied by the corrupt principals would be, for example, shown an anti-drug film for an hour. It was then the job of the ghost writers to invent lengthy progress reports for each of the students, pretending that they had actually been through a whole series of drug treatments and not just sitting around watching a video.

If the state ever audited the program, the Islams could show the fraudulent progress reports written by the ghost writers.

Holy Xenu, Batman! What a scam!


Source Code

“We could bring people in off the streets and have them walk down the hall and stop in Office 1 where a little sign says, ‘Glasses removed here.’ We wouldn’t have any couches or anything cluttering the place up like that, and we could just walk them around the hall and at each station there would be another auditor and he would just ask standard questions. The people coming in would walk all the way around and then out on the street again. Of course, they would stop at the desk before they went out and write out a check for the equivalent amount of medical treatment, which would come to $8,687,962.05! There is some slight possibility that we may be at that stage. I don’t want to over evaluate anything, however.” — L. Ron Hubbard, October 1, 1951


Overheard in the FreeZone

“The 8Ds work only here and only for theta/mind but not the different beings and from different universes. I should leave it here since only a handful of people understand the difference, which is massive, between the two consciousnesses. In the Matrix all spiritual beings are lumped under theta. That’s what mankind is supposed to believe and nothing could be further from the truth.”


Scientology’s celebrities, ‘Ideal Orgs,’ and more!

[The Big Three: Tom Cruise, John Travolta, and Kirstie Alley]

We’ve been building landing pages about David Miscavige’s favorite playthings, including celebrities and ‘Ideal Orgs,’ and we’re hoping you’ll join in and help us gather as much information as we can about them. Head on over and help us with links and photos and comments.

Scientology’s celebrities, from A to Z! Find your favorite Hubbardite celeb at this index page — or suggest someone to add to the list!

Scientology’s ‘Ideal Orgs,’ from one end of the planet to the other! Help us build up pages about each these worldwide locations!

Scientology’s sneaky front groups, spreading the good news about L. Ron Hubbard while pretending to benefit society!

Scientology Lit: Books reviewed or excerpted in our weekly series. How many have you read?



[ONE year ago] Dispatches from our far-flung correspondents agree: Scientology still sucks
[TWO years ago] Scientology celebrates its disaster response in Florida, but struggles in Puerto Rico and Mexico
[THREE years ago] Atack: Scientology advocates serenity, so why are so many Scientologists angry jerks?
[FOUR years ago] Cathriona White’s Scientology ‘twin’ on grueling courses was an actor named Travis Case
[FIVE years ago] Scientology’s drug rehab network hit with lawsuit number 22 by attorney Ryan Hamilton
[SIX years ago] RAY JEFFREY 1, SCIENTOLOGY 0: Disqualify Motion Denied in Harassment Lawsuit
[SEVEN years ago] Secrets of The Master: Elements of Scientology That Didn’t Make It into the Film
[EIGHT years ago] Scientology Internal E-Mails: Even More Depressing Than You Might Assume


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,584 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 1,713 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,217 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 1,737 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 757 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 648 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 3,955 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,823 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,597 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,371 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,717 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,283 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,202 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,370 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,951 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,212 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,251 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,963 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,489 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,015 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,578 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,718 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,038 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 7,894 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,013 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,368 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,671 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,777 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,179 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,051 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,634 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,129 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,383 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,492 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on October 1, 2019 at 14:00

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The Best of the Underground Bunker, 1995-2018 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2018), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

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