Daily Notifications
Sign up for free emails to receive the feature story every morning in your inbox at


As Scientologists face another day in L.A. court, we have a bizarre twist to the case

[Hanan Islam, with Alfreddie Johnson at the World Literacy Crusade]

Today, testimony is scheduled to resume in the preliminary hearing of a Medi-Cal insurance fraud prosecution at the Los Angeles Superior Court that we’ve been following for several days, the latest development in a wild scam involving Scientology, its drug rehab network Narconon, the Nation of Islam, and recently, even “sovereign citizen” conspiracy theories.

It’s a crazy case we’ve been following for nearly four years, when we broke the news that Hanan Islam, 60, and three of her children, including Ronnie “Rizza” Islam, 29, and others were arrested and charged, including three corrupt high school educators, who lost their jobs.

Last week, the prosecution entered testimony that the Islams had worked out a deal with the high school officials (two principals and a football coach) to supply unwitting high school students that they knew from their records were eligible for Medi-Cal coverage. The students were sent to the Scientology Narconon rehab, American Health and Education Clinics, that Hanan Islam had founded with her then partner, Alfreddie Johnson, at his facility, the World Literacy Crusade, a notorious Scientology front organization in Compton. At the clinic, the students were shown films by instructors like Rizza Islam, but the clinic’s “ghost writers” then created bogus folders for each of the students, inventing narratives about drug treatments so Medi-Cal could be billed for nonexistent procedures.

Over three years, from 2010 to 2013, Medi-Cal paid the clinic $3.8 million in the bogus treatments, the state testified.

Today, the court is scheduled to hear more from the state’s Tax Franchise Board. But we wanted to fill in a little more about Hanan Islam’s past, and we have a new document and additional information that has not come to light before.


For example, the state, in its prosecution, is focusing tightly on the issue of Medi-Cal fraud and the paperwork at AHEC and WLC. So far, they have not provided testimony about the connection of these organizations to the Church of Scientology. Also, some observers have questioned the connection between Hanan and Scientology, and we wanted to address that.

Yes, Hanan Islam was a very dedicated Scientologist while she helped Alfreddie Johnson run WLC and AHEC. (And Alfreddie himself has long been a very visible figure in the church, although he was not arrested or charged in the insurance fraud case.)

[Rev. Alfreddie Johnson Jr. and Tom Cruise celebrate the opening of a new headquarters in 2003 for Applied Scholastics, a Scientology front that tries to get the teaching ideas of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard into public school curricula.]

In 2005, a year after the founding of AHEC, the Narconon clinic was visited by a county commission concerned that children from a group home were being sent there for classes. The children had to endure a 3.5-hour round trip of travel time to get to the clinic, and what the commissioners found there appalled them. “One of the class brochures describes a drug and alcohol rehabilitation and detoxification program, but none of the resident children have those problems…Commissioners attended class with the residents and discovered that not only was the program not drug/alcohol related, but all the books, study materials and wall posters were pertaining to L. Ron Hubbard’s Scientology.” After that visit, the group home was told to stop sending children to the clinic.

“We use the Narconon program developed by L. Ron Hubbard,” World Literacy Crusade’s website stated on a now-defunct page that is preserved on the Internet Archive.

In 2007, Alfreddie Johnson was tossed out of a seat on the Lynwood City Council when more than 70 percent of voters chose to recall him (along with the mayor and two other council members) after the council had pushed a plan to level part of the town for a 70,000-seat NFL stadium. Hanan Islam had run Johnson’s election campaign.

In 2008, the Los Angeles Times reported that the World Literacy Crusade facility was the scene of a near riot as it turned out that the $1,500 vouchers it was selling for Section 8 housing turned out to be fakes.

That Los Angeles Times article didn’t mention the connection between WLC and Scientology. But the publicity over that incident was so bad, Hanan Islam found herself in hot water with the church.

That’s according to someone who was there at the time, and from them we have obtained the “Doubt Formula” that Hanan Islam wrote up as part of her Scientology punishment.

15 April, 2008


To my friends, colleagues, staff and family,

I have been reasonable and careless with regard to my post at WLC and to life in general. I have taken suggestion and direction from individuals who have not had the intention to bring about the greatest amount of good for the greatest number involved. This has caused harm to me personally, to my family, to those I work with at WLC and to the public I am supposed to serve.

This is not the first time this has happened, as a matter of fact; I realize this has been a pattern for years. I realize that the reason I have been able to follow out-ethic immoral, destructive suggestions and directions is that I have not fully grasped and applied the greatest level of ethics and morality to my own life. I have not applied KSW to my life and to my post as the Executive Director of the World Literacy Crusade.


I now openly announce to Scientologists who consciously operate per KSW and to all the moral, ethical, just and descent people I know who are working diligently to improve the conditions of mankind that I join this group and denounce the group of careless individuals, not applying standard LRH Tech and those seeking to destroy forward movement for mankind.

I am actively working up the conditions and am here to service and to participate fully as a Scientologist. Please let me know if there is anything you need or want from me.

Thank you,

Dr. Hanan Islam

“She mentions moving up the conditions,” says Sunny Pereira, a former Sea Org member and a Scientology technical expert. Sunny says that Hanan’s public announcement would have been a requirement as she was moving up a number of “conditions” after being punished. “Treason is lower than Doubt. It’s very common to start at Treason. So she may have started at Treason, done the ‘Enemy’ condition, then Doubt. Enemy condition does not have any public announcement, but at Doubt she has to decide which group she wants to be part of. At Doubt she has to announce the fact publicly to both sides: which group she has chosen. In her case she has chosen ‘ethical’ Scientologists.”

Like Alfreddie Johnson, Hanan Islam was a dedicated Scientologist running multiple Scientology front organizations. Also, we have an eyewitness account from Eric Tenorio, who worked as an executive at Scientology’s flagship Narconon rehab in Oklahoma, Narconon Arrowhead. Here’s what Eric told us in 2015

Tenorio tells us that in 2004, a woman (not Hanan Islam) was sent from the World Literacy Crusade to Narconon Arrowhead to receive instruction.

“She was there to train as a course supervisor,” he says.

About six months later, Tenorio was in Los Angeles and he was sent to visit the woman and check up on the program.

“It was a dump. It was in an industrial area. The sauna was in a garage — the room it was in had a garage door. The rest of it was just run down course rooms,” Tenorio remembers.

We asked if he saw any patients using the facility.

“There was one person in the sauna, and maybe two people on course,” he says.

It was obvious to Tenorio that the clinic at World Literacy Crusade was an official Narconon enterprise. Narconon centers can’t operate unless they’re licensed by Scientology’s umbrella groups — Narconon International and the Association for Better Living and Education (ABLE).

“They wouldn’t be able to operate and send people to Arrowhead to train if they weren’t at least licensed by ABLE or Narconon International and in good standing,” Tenorio says.


Despite the hiccup with the Section 8 vouchers and having to go through “Doubt,” Hanan and AHEC forged ahead as a Scientology enterprise, and began using high school students for the Medi-Cal scheme at least by 2010. (The 2005 county commission report, however, suggests that the scam had started much earlier.)

In 2012, Hanan Islam and Alfreddie Johnson were featured in a series of stories in the Tampa Bay Times which described how they flew to Florida and took over a struggling charter school, imposed Scientology teaching methods over the objections of parents and some teachers (who were fired), diverted large amounts of the school’s state money to the World Literacy Crusade, and left town after riding the charter school into the ground.

“Calling herself ‘Dr. Hanan,’ Islam…said she was a naturopathic physician with two doctorates and a master’s degree from Rochville University and the Eden Institute. Rochville is an online school the Washington Post called ‘a diploma mill.’ No university named ‘Eden Institute’ could be found by the Times,” wrote Tampa Bay Times reporter Drew Harwell.

Then, in 2013, California drug rehabs were rocked by an in-depth investigation by CNN and the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) that found widespread abuse of the Medi-Cal system. In the wake of that investigation, California regulators shut off funds to dozens of rehab networks while taking a closer look at them. One of the clinics affected was Hanan’s AHEC.

CIR reported that the hiatus gave state regulators time to look into rehab operators, some of whom had criminal pasts. One of them was Hanan. “Throughout her decadelong tenure at American Health and Education Clinics, authorities seemed to take no note of her criminal history. In the mid-’90s, she had pleaded guilty to a federal charge of providing a fake name on a passport application. She also had been convicted of grand theft for forging a $29,000 check,” CIR’s Christina Jewett and Will Evans reported.

Prior felonies. Almost $4 million in fraudulent payments from the state. The use of unwitting high school students and corrupt educators. And now, in a preliminary hearing, Hanan and her son Rizza were so disruptive with their bizarre “sovereign citizen” arguments, claiming that the court had no jurisdiction over them, both were arrested and taken to jail for contempt of court.

And yet, there’s another twist to this story that no one — maybe not even the prosecutors hoping to bring Hanan and her children to trial — seems aware of.

And that’s this strange detail: Hanan Islam could provide key eyewitness testimony in the criminal prosecution of Scientology actor Danny Masterson, as well as the civil litigation filed against him by four women who say he violently raped them between 2001 and 2004.

In March 2017, we broke the news of the LAPD investigation of Masterson, and then detailed the allegations of one of his victims, whom we refer to as “Victim B.” In our story about what Victim B went through, we described a meeting she was asked by the Church of Scientology to attend with Masterson so he could “confront” her account of being raped…

On a spring day in 2004, Victim B arrived at a room at the WLC in Compton where she was greeted by Rev. Johnson, a friend of Masterson’s named Luke Watson, and Kirsten Caetano, a powerful official in Scientology’s intelligence wing, the Office of Special Affairs.

Masterson was then brought in, our source says. She explains that Victim B had been told that the Scientology executives believed that Masterson needed to hear directly from Victim B what had happened so he could “confront” it properly. He was instructed to listen quietly as Victim B recounted the incident.

She got to the point of describing when Masterson was on top of her, and she remembered reaching for a lamp, hoping to use it to hit him and knock him off. He had responded by choking her to keep her from reaching it.

And at that point in the meeting, our source says, Masterson couldn’t keep quiet.

“I loved that lamp. I didn’t want you to break it,” he joked.


“The other people in the room really reacted angrily at Danny for joking, and they pulled him out of the room,” our source says, relating what she heard from Victim B. “But then they brought him back in and tried to keep going with it. But then he told another joke, and then Alfreddie said it was over.”

Now, our source with familiarity of the World Literacy Crusade at that time says that although Alfreddie was in the room during the meeting, Hanan Islam had assisted him in setting up the facility for it.

“She had access to everything. All of the emails with the church, showing they knew all about the allegations against Danny, and that the church took them seriously enough to make the meeting happen,” our source says.

Hanan Islam could testify that in 2004, the Church of Scientology knew that Danny Masterson had raped Victim B, and that Masterson had tried to “handle” it and keep Victim B from going to the police by insisting on meeting her and listening to her account.

We understand that the state’s prosecutors are focused on the fraud that Hanan Islam, a multiple felon, is alleged to have committed between 2010 and 2013, but it is frustrating that so far we don’t see agencies like the state group investigating Medi-Cal fraud and the county district attorney’s office investigating Masterson working together to see how interwoven the lines are between Hanan Islam, Alfreddie Johnson, and the Church of Scientology.

Hanan seems recklessly headed for a maximum punishment as she unwisely disrupts court with sovereign citizen arguments, and perhaps there’s no way of derailing her self-destructive path. But has any county, state, or federal agency approached her about what she could testify to as far as criminality at a much higher level in the Church of Scientology?

UPDATE: First tidbit from court today: Hanan and Rizza Islam were transferred from county jail by bus to a holding cell at the courthouse this morning. As the judge said last week, Hanan is being given another opportunity to behave properly in court today.

UPDATE: The bailiff ordered the court cleared. Defendant Bayon Beverly Washington, who didn’t show for the hearing last week, did show up for today’s session and is being taken into custody. Also, local ABC 7 news has arrived with a sketch artist, and an on-air person.

UPDATE: ALL DEFENDANTS BOUND OVER FOR TRIAL ON ALL CHARGES. Hanan Islam taken to jail on $250,000 bail amount. Rizza Islam taken to jail on $100,000 bail amount. Arraignment scheduled for October 22, jury trial to take place within 60 days of that date. More tomorrow from Jeffrey Augustine on the evidence presented in court today, and Judge Pastor’s harsh words for the defendants.


Bonus items from our tipsters

Meanwhile, in Canada…



Source Code

“How do you run a grief charge? Take him to the beginning of the moment when the incident first occurred….This goes way back on the track to a thing called, evidently, the Weeper — salt water. And for about half a million years man was having a hell of a time trying to rush into the waves long enough to get some food and rush back to get some air. And he didn’t have anything with which to rush. And it was, and it was very frustrating. So frustration winds up in spilling salt water. He had a couple of little tubes and he pushed these out of the shell and he’d pump like mad trying to pump out all the salt water. You run a preclear on this and it’s just fabulous.” — L. Ron Hubbard, October 7, 1953


Overheard in the FreeZone

“At OT 34-40 (Games Master) = Games, one of the abilities is to get out of MEST Universe and appear at another time and space of MEST Universe at will.”


Random Howdy

“I had a dream I was L. Ron Hubbard and I was wearing a cape, sitting on a throne, with a bevy of teenage beauties sitting at my feet.”


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

[Alanna Masterson, Terry Jastrow, and Marisol Nichols]

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] Exploiting Tony Bourdain’s suicide or giving out weird massages, Scientology never rests
[TWO years ago] Scientology is hacked off that Luis Garcia and attorney will appear on ‘Leah Remini’
[THREE years ago] What’s the worst that can happen when you sue Scientology? Here’s one frightening example.
[FOUR years ago] A secret Scientology wake, a ‘Snow White’ link, & more odd twists emerge in the Cat White story
[FIVE years ago] Comedy gold: Mark Ebner catches Scientology cheating with Sarah Silverman
[SEVEN years ago] How You Can Help Raise Money for Narconon’s Legal Defense!


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,590 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 1,719 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,223 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 1,743 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 763 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 654 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 3,961 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,829 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,603 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,377 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,723 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,289 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,208 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,376 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,957 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,218 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,257 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,969 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,495 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,021 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,584 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,724 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,044 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 7,900 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,019 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,374 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,677 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,783 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,185 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,057 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,640 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,135 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,389 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,498 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on October 7, 2019 at 07:00

E-mail tips to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We also post updates at our Facebook author page. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

Our new book with Paulette Cooper, Battlefield Scientology: Exposing L. Ron Hubbard’s dangerous ‘religion’ is now on sale at Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats. Our book about Paulette, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, is on sale at Amazon in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook versions. We’ve posted photographs of Paulette and scenes from her life at a separate location. Reader Sookie put together a complete index. More information can also be found at the book’s dedicated page.

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)

Other links: BLOGGING DIANETICS: Reading Scientology’s founding text cover to cover | 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 | Shelly Miscavige, 14 years gone | The Lisa McPherson story told in real time | The Cathriona White stories | The Leah Remini ‘Knowledge Reports’ | Hear audio of a Scientology excommunication | Scientology’s little day care of horrors | Whatever happened to Steve Fishman? | Felony charges for Scientology’s drug rehab scam | Why Scientology digs bomb-proof vaults in the desert | PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | 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

Watch our short videos that explain Scientology’s controversies in three minutes or less…

Check your whale level at our dedicated page for status updates, or join us at the Underground Bunker’s Facebook discussion group for more frivolity.

Our non-Scientology stories: Robert Burnham Jr., the man who inscribed the universe | Notorious alt-right inspiration Kevin MacDonald and his theories about Jewish DNA | The selling of the “Phoenix Lights” | Astronomer Harlow Shapley‘s FBI file | Sex, spies, and local TV news | Battling Babe-Hounds: Ross Jeffries v. R. Don Steele


Share Button
Print Friendly, PDF & Email