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Scientology chiro pleaded guilty to fraud, but we may get to see a sort of trial anyway

[Jay Spina, towering over Scientology leader David Miscvige]

With just a week to go before his sentencing on Medicare fraud was to happen, Scientology donor and Middletown, NY chiropractor Jay Spina threw a wrench into the process, causing his government prosecutors to ask for a delay.

The good news for court watchers is that what might have been a fairly routine matter now threatens to turn into something more like a trial, as the two sides want to fight over the facts of the case in a court hearing before Judge Kenneth M. Karas imposes a sentence on Spina.

It’s also yet another lesson about what money can buy wealthy people who find themselves in America’s justice system. At the last minute, Spina spent a boatload of money on expensive lawyer work which may buy him some more time before sentencing and may have a real effect on how much prison time he ultimately receives.

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, 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.

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After the brothers pleaded guilty, letters poured in from Spina’s family and friends imploring Judge Karas to go lightly on the chiropractor, painting him as a pillar of the commmunity. But in June, his prosecutors countered with a devastating sentencing document that not only portrayed Spina as the mastermind of an elaborate fraud, but also that his clinic was a house of horrors that pushed unnecessary injections on patients, causing at least one death.

Because Spina pleaded guilty (which included an agreement that $9.5 million had been stolen), federal sentencing guidelines suggested a penalty of up to 10 years in prison. Spina’s attorneys asked Judge Karas to go below those guidelines and sentence him to 18 to 24 months. Prosecutors, with their lengthy sentencing memo, asked for the full 10 years.

And that’s where things stood until last week, when Spina’s attorneys filed hundreds of pages in an attempt to counter the prosecution’s sentencing memo and again press for a lighter sentence of between 18 and 24 months. They urged Judge Karas to consider that thousands of patients went through the Spina clinic and kept coming back, an indication that they were getting good care. And they went on to counter many of the assertions that the prosecutors had made in their sentencing memo.

This week, prosecutors fired back, saying that the two sides have been unable to come to an agreement on how much money Spina should have to pay back in restitution, and that the impasse largely rests on factual disputes. With Spina’s attorneys arguing the facts of the case, the prosecutors have asked for a delay and for Karas to call for a “Fatico” hearing.

The New York Times has described such a proceeding as “designed to allow a judge to determine whether allegations in a Government sentencing memorandum that are disputed by the defense should be considered in deciding punishment.”

Hey, the prosecution getting a chance to present evidence of Spina’s guilt in a live court hearing? That sounds like a mini-trial, and we’d be happy to cover it.

As of this morning, tomorrow’s sentencing is still scheduled for 2 pm at the White Plains federal courthouse. But we’ll let you know if Judge Karas decides to push it back and allow testimony about Spina’s guilt.

 
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SCIENTOLOGY BLACK OPS: Tom Cruise and dirty tricks, the series axed by Seven News

In July the Australian Seven News network cancelled at the last minute a ten-part nightly news in-depth investigation of the Church of Scientology and its history of dirty tricks operations. All ten episodes were leaked to the Internet, and we (temporarily) posted embeds of the video segments and then collected all ten links in one place. Judge for yourself why Tom Cruise and Tommy Davis might not have wanted viewers to see this hard-hitting series by journalist Bryan Seymour.

 

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SCIENTOLOGY: FAIR GAME

After the success of their double-Emmy-winning, three-season A&E series ‘Scientology and the Aftermath,’ Leah Remini and Mike Rinder continue the conversation on their podcast, ‘Scientology: Fair Game.’ We’ve created a landing page where you can hear all of the episodes so far.

 
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Source Code

“The condemnation of science is long overdue and, what do you know, has already occurred on the European continent and has occurred even in a more advanced state in England. Today the word science is so bad that when I started calling what we’re doing Scientology I got in to a minor revolution. It wasn’t anything but the fact that the English people today believe that science has let them down but thoroughly. And anything with science connected with it is something they rather smile sarcastically about. It’s not that they’re interested in humanity. They just know science doesn’t work. And what do you know, they’re drawing right back out of science. They are not following scientific method worth a nickel.” — L. Ron Hubbard, October 28, 1953

 
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Overheard in the FreeZone

“The fundamental principle of Scientology is in the defining of the nature of our being. We are spiritual beings who do not owe our existence to any Creator or God. In Christian terms that is the ultimate heresy. However, it is also fundamental that we survive in this universe as a co-existence which is God. Our survival is irrevocably entwined with that of others. We are immortal beings who have become involved in games after games of increasing complexity until arriving in this latest manifestation which entrapped most into fallacious concepts.”

 
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Past is Prologue

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2003: FOX News reported that Michael Jackson will be donating to Scientology a portion of the money raised with a multi-star song. “A lot of big name stars are unwittingly about to start raising money for Scientology, thanks to Michael Jackson. Jackson is launching a worldwide Internet download of his charity single, ‘What More Can I Give?’ For $2 a shot, Jackson fans will be able to hear this record, made two years ago but never released. The record features Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, members of ‘N Sync, The Backstreet Boys and others. But what fans – and the two dozen participating artists – probably don’t know is that proceeds from the single download are going, in part, to Scientology. Jackson has designated The HELP Organization, which uses study techniques developed by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, as one of the beneficiaries of his largesse.”

 
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Random Howdy

“Being an old school punk/junkie I wish I had a buck for every bad thing I’ve ever heard said, written or depicted about people of my ‘ilk.’ Never mind all the verbal and physical assaults me and my friends had to endure back in the day from the supposedly ‘normal’ people. It goes with the territory called ‘freak.’ Get use to it. Wear it as a badge of experience.”

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

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Masterson’s demurrer denied Oct 19, arraignment delayed to November 2.
Jay and Jeff Spina, Medicare fraud: Jay’s sentencing is set for October 29 in White Plains, NY.
Hanan and Rizza Islam and other family members, Medi-Cal fraud: Next pretrial conference set for Jan 12 in Los Angeles

Civil litigation:
Luis and Rocio Garcia v. Scientology: Oral arguments were heard on July 30 at the Eleventh Circuit
Valerie Haney v. Scientology: Forced to ‘religious arbitration.’ Petition for a writ of mandate denied Oct 22 by Cal 2nd Appellate District.
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: Nov 6 (motions to compel arbitration)
Matt and Kathy Feschbach tax debt: Eleventh Circuit ruled on Sept 9 that Feshbachs can’t discharge IRS debt in bankruptcy. Oct 19: Feshbachs still considering further appellate relief.
Brian Statler Sr v. City of Inglewood: Second amended complaint filed, trial set for Nov 9, 2021.
Author Steve Cannane defamation trial: Trial concluded, awaiting verdict.

Concluded litigation:
Dennis Nobbe, Medicare fraud, PPP loan fraud: Charged July 29. Bond revoked Sep 14. Nobbe dead, Sep 14.
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.

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

[Elisabeth Moss, Michael Peña, and Laura Prepon]

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?

 
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THE WHOLE TRACK

[ONE year ago] Thetan-tastic: Alan Arkin and Michael Douglas skewer Scientology on ‘The Kominsky Method’
[TWO years ago] Scientology so desperate for Narconon patients, new offer drops all pretense of separation
[THREE years ago] Ray Emmons, 1942-2017: Clearwater’s cop who sniffed out Scientology’s secrets
[FOUR years ago] Talking with Tiponi Grey, who quit her Scientology job and announced it on YouTube
[FIVE years ago] Troublemakers: The women who won’t keep quiet about Scientology
[SIX years ago] Finally, Scientology has an answer for last year’s Super Bowl power outage
[SEVEN years ago] Scientology’s Trust Issues: A Possible Garcia Legal Strategy?
[EIGHT years ago] Sunday Funnies: Scientology Price Increase!
[NINE years ago] Mark Chauppetta, PI Who Worked for Scientology at time of South Park Investigation: “I’m a Fucking Mercenary”

 
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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 2,103 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,607 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,127 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,147 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,038 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,345 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,213 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,987 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,791 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,107 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,673 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,592 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,760 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,341 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,602 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,640 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,353 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,878 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,408 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,968 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,108 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,428 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,283 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,402 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,758 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,061 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,167 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,569 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,441 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,024 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,519 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,773 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,882 days.

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Posted by Tony Ortega on October 28, 2020 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, 1995-2019 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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