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Scientologist chiro Jay Spina’s clinic killed a patient say feds asking for 10-year sentence

[Jay Spina receives an “OT Leadership” award from David Miscavige]

We’ve learned that Middletown, New York chiropractor Jay Spina’s sentencing has been moved back from April 3 to July 6, and also that the feds are asking the judge to throw the book at the Scientology donor not only for using elaborate ruses to rip off Medicare, but also for what a house of horrors his clinic was.

We first learned in 2018 that Spina and his brother Jeff were being charged for an $80 million Medicare scam that they ran out of their Middletown clinic. The facility went by several names, but most often as Dolman Avenue Medical (DAM) during the period under investigation. Two others who worked at DAM were also charged, one of whom was their sister Kim Spina. Separately, a physician who worked out of the clinic, Dr. Charles Bagley, has pleaded guilty to fraud.

The Spina brothers are longtime Scientologists who gave a lot of money and time to Scientology front groups like the Foundation for a Drug-Free World. And as you can see in the image above, Jay Spina was celebrated by Scientology leader David Miscavige for his service.

According to the government’s initial press release about the charges, the Spina brothers used elaborate plots to hide their involvement in the scam, but multiple law enforcement agencies worked together to investigate and uncover their crimes.

Initially, the Spina brothers announced that they were going to keep their clinic open as they fought the criminal charges. But eventually they both pleaded guilty and began preparing for their sentencing hearings.


Letters to Judge Kenneth M. Karas began pouring in, imploring him to consider that Jay Spina had been a pillar of the Middletown community, and making it sound like he had been caught in a momentary lapse of judgment.

But now the government has weighed in, and we have its pre-sentencing document, asking for a 10-year sentence. And wow, it’s heavy stuff.

“From at least 2011 through September 2017, the Practice and its associated businesses were engaged in a widespread fraud. Everything about the Practice, from its corporate structure to its billing practices, was fraudulent,” the document says. “In particular, the investigation revealed that Jay and Jeff Spina… engaged in numerous fraudulent practices, such as (1) billing for unnecessary medical procedures; (2) billing for services that were never actually provided; (3) double billing…and (4) altering and falsifying medical records.”

To help hide what they were doing, the Spina brothers ran at least nine different corporate entities out of the DAM facility, and used other owner-physicians as fronts. When one of those physicians died in 2017, they panicked that their ruse would be exposed.

The document describes how the Spinas then concocted an illegal stock transfer to put the company that had been in the dead physician’s name into Bagley’s name.

“The level of deceit and sophistication displayed by Jay and Jeff Spina in the above-described fraudulent stock transfer scheme demonstrates the lengths to which the co-conspirators would go to protect their profits….To further disguise these transfers, the Spinas drafted phony lease and marketing agreements between DAM and the associated businesses and purported real estate and marketing companies they owned — incuding JJMJ Realty, Roswell Realty, and Effective Marketing — and referred to the payments as ‘rent’ or ‘marketing fees.'”

At one point, Jay Spina pointed out in an email to his brother that it might cause a “RED FLAG” if someone realized, for example, that four of their bogus practices had all leased the same property at the same time.

The office manager, Andrea Grossman, who is also facing prison time, used a Scientology phrase in a 2011 email to Jay Spina discussing the profits they were assigning to their bogus media company, Effective Marketing:

The reason for having so many fictional businesses, the document explains, was that they could separately bill Medicare multiple times for the same patient. And Jay Spina had prepared scripts for the physicians fronting the separate companies, instructing them what to say if they were asked about it.

The document then goes into detail on the specific ways that overbilling occurred. But the section we also found really interesting was about Jay Spina’s promotion and overseeing of the practice of “facet injections” at his clinic.

Some years ago your proprietor experienced significant back pain, and we ended up having several of these injections. We can tell you that they are not fun. A small globule of pain medicine needs to be deposited as close to, but not actually touching, the spinal cord, with an injection by a skilled practitioner using live X-ray. A few times it happened we were conscious of what was going on, another time we were under sedation. But each time it was treated as a serious procedure by a facility that took great precautions about what was going on.


“The majority of practitioners who administer facet injections use fluoroscopy, real time X-ray with dye, or CT scan, to guide the placement of the needle into the facet joint. Because the facet joints are near the spinal cord, facet injections are high risk and there is a very small margin of error,” the document says, backing up our own experience.

But at Dolman Avenue Medical, that wasn’t the case.

“Dr. Bagley was the only physician at the Practice who administered facet injections. He viewed the lucrative injections…as job security. Notably, Dr. Bagley had no formal training in performing facet injection procedures, but instead taught himself by shadowing other doctors and watching YouTube videos.”

Bagley’s files were reviewed by an expert, who found “that in each case Dr. Bagley performed excessive and/or unnecessary facet injections and that the system of overall care for each patient was administered with no apparent benefit to the patient.”

Bagley has already pleaded guilty for fraud, but prosecutors make it plain that Jay Spina also bore responsibility for the unnecessary injections.

“Although Dr. Bagley actually performed the procedures, as with all other aspects of the Practice, Jay Spina was intimately involved with the injections. He kept a close eye both on 1) the number of facet injections patients received; and 2) whether, and at what rate, Insurance Providers reimbursed for the injections.”

In emails, Spina encouraged Bagley to perform more and more of the injections. And it had tragic consequences.

The document goes on to detail the many ways the Spinas fraudulently billed Medicare and faked medical records to justify it.

The prosecutors lay out the reasons why Spina’s crimes call for a sentence of between 87 and 120 months, and explain why they are asking for the maximum of 10 years. They included this assessment from a presentencing report from a probation officer…

Spina himself has, while admitting that he submitted bogus billing documents, insisted that he was really focused on patient care. His supporters, meanwhile, have stressed his work in the community.

But the prosecutors counter that Spina’s community activities were often just ways of recruiting new patients. And they point out that Spina continued to push for facet injections even after the death of a patient. And in fact, to our eyes, his behavior after that death sure resembles Scientology’s own “Fair Game” activity…


Wow. What a character.

There’s much more in the document itself. Have a look at it and let us know what else stands out to you.

Jay Spina: Presentencing document by Tony Ortega on Scribd


Source Code

“As you look back over the whole track, you’ll find that you’ve been going on a rolly-coaster. You’ve spent some time in a meat body and then the next thing you know, why, there you were, Operating Thetan, see. And then for a while, why, you’re pushing a doll body around or something like that and then boom: why, you’re Operating Thetan. And then you push a meat body around for a while, and then spend a few million or trillion years in a trap or something like that and then you come out the other end of it. And suddenly and mysteriously, why, there you are chucking planets around, or something like this, you see. This is all very difficult for a person to reconcile. And it’s ‘What am I doing? What am I doing?’ Being up, being down, being up, being down. There isn’t one of you who hasn’t been in meat bodies on the whole track many many times. Many times and places, you see. And, who didn’t succeed this action by being an OT, you see. Quite interesting.” — L. Ron Hubbard, June 20, 1963


Overheard in the FreeZone

“There is no standard among freezone auditors as to what they charge for services. It is totally up to them. It is a free market. If you don’t like the prices an auditor charges you are free to find another auditor. And it should be noted here that every Independent Auditor or group charges a great deal less than the Church does. No auditor should be faulted for what he decides to charge his clients. As an aside, but I think interestilng, is one time back in the years when $200 a month was a teacher’s salary, L. Ron Hubbard was getting too many people who wanted his personal services. To handle it he raised his prices to $500 an hour for personal auditing! I don’t know what the average school teacher makes today, but consider this was like 2 1/2 times a month’s salary!”


Random Howdy

“I wish you would comment more often.”


Full Court Press: What we’re watching at the Underground Bunker

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women, on June 17. Arraignment scheduled for September 18.
Jay Spina: Sentencing was set for April 3 in White Plains
Hanan and Rizza Islam and other family members: Trial set for October 7 in Los Angeles

Civil litigation:
Luis and Rocio Garcia v. Scientology: Waiting for an appellate decision from the Eleventh Circuit
Valerie Haney v. Scientology: Forced to ‘religious arbitration.’ Hearing on motion for reconsideration set for August 11
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: July 8 (plaintiff attorneys pro hac vice), August 31-Sept 1 (CSI/RTC demurrer against Riales, Masterson demurrer), Oct 7-19 (motions to compel arbitration)
Jane Doe v. Scientology (in Miami): Jane Doe dismissed the lawsuit on May 15 after the Clearwater Police dropped their criminal investigation of her allegations.
Matt and Kathy Feschbach bankruptcy appeal: Oral arguments were heard on March 11 in Jacksonville
Brian Statler Sr v. City of Inglewood: Amended complaint filed.


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

[Erika Christensen, Ethan Suplee, and Juliette Lewis]

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?



[TWO years ago] Scientologists charged with Medi-Cal insurance fraud will stand trial on August 28
[THREE years ago] John Brousseau: Marty Rathbun is putting words in my mouth about the FBI’s Scientology probe
[FOUR years ago] Scientology is holding this Kazakh 20-year-old prisoner, says her media-grabbing mom
[FIVE years ago] RFK Jr’s anti-vax activism hits lowest spot ever — with Scientology and the Nation of Islam
[SIX years ago] Paul Haggis tells us his favorite Scientology stories of 2014
[SEVEN years ago] Dianetics Noir: Dangerous Women Hiding Their Womb-Secrets
[EIGHT years ago] Debbie Cook — Exiled by Scientology?
[NINE years ago] Grant Cardone, NatGeo’s ‘Turnaround King’: Doing Scientology’s Dirty Work?


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley (1952-2019) did not see his daughter Stephanie in his final 5,667 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 1,974 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,478 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 1,998 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,018 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 909 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,216 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,084 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,858 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,632 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,978 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,544 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,463 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,631 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,212 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,473 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,511 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,224 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,749 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,279 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,839 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,979 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,299 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,154 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,274 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,629 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,932 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,038 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,440 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,312 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,895 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,390 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,644 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,753 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on June 20, 2020 at 07:00

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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, 1995-2019 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2019), 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


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