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Hanan Islam, 62: Faced felony counts for insurance scam run out of Scientology clinic

[Hanan Islam and her son Rizza]

A memorial service for Hanan Islam has been scheduled for Saturday to take place at the gymnasium at Compton College in Southern California. Her son, Ronnie “Rizza” Islam, announced on his Instagram account on Sunday that his mother died after a ten-year battle with colon cancer. She was 62.

More than six years ago, we broke the news that Hanan, Rizza, and two of Hanan’s daughters, Zakiyyah and Nimat, had been charged on felony counts for running a Medi-Cal insurance scam out of World Literacy Crusade, the notorious Scientology front operation located in the Los Angeles working class suburb of Compton. Two other employees were also charged, and two high school principals and a high school football coach faced lesser counts for participating in the scheme.

The three educators lost their jobs, and in October 2019 state investigators laid out their case against the Islams in a preliminary hearing, and Hanan and her children were bound over for trial.

Since then, a series of pretrial conferences had taken place, with a trial date being put off repeatedly. We reported earlier that Hanan’s health was being raised in court as a reason for the case being delayed. She was facing the most serious charges as the scam’s ringleader. And because she had previous felony convictions, she was facing a more serious potential penalty than her children were.

At the time of the preliminary hearing, Hanan and Rizza, who were also involved in the Nation of Islam, tried out some “sovereign citizen” arguments, disrupting proceedings by claiming that the court had no jurisdiction over them. Both were arrested and led away from the courtroom in handcuffs for short stays in jail.

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According to the state investigators, the Islams were using unwitting high school students (supplied by the three educators), who had no idea that they were being counted as drug rehab patients. The Islams paid “ghost writers” to create narratives about the treatments of these students, which were submitted to the state as insurance claims. Between 2010 and 2013, the state alleged, the Islams had pocketed about $3.8 million in illegal claims. (We found evidence that the scam may have been going on considerably longer, at least as early as 2005, and may have involved much more money.)

In 2004, Hanan created American Health and Education Clinics with her partner the Rev. Alfreddie Johnson Jr. at the World Literacy Crusade, and was running it as a Narconon drug rehab. “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. (Alfreddie Johnson was not charged with a crime in relation to the scam being run out of his facility. And the World Literacy Crusade itself no longer exists.)

In 2008, the Los Angeles Times reported that the World Literacy Crusade 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.

As a result of that incident, Hanan wrote up a Scientology “Doubt Formula,” which we first published in 2019.

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.

The next year, the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) reported on widespread Medi-Cal abuse, and found that Hanan Islam had a criminal past. “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.

We also found that Hanan had an interesting connection to the Danny Masterson criminal and civil cases. When Jane Doe 1, one of the women accusing Masterson of raping them while they were Scientologists, first reported her 2003 incident to the church, it was Alfreddie Johnson who, along with a Scientology official named Kirsten Caetano and Luke Watson, a friend of Masterson’s, tried to set up a meeting between the That ’70s Show actor and his accuser so he could listen to her allegations. Hanan Islam helped prepare the space for the meeting, which took place at the World Literacy Crusade. The meeting went awry, however, when Masterson made inappropriate jokes, interrupting Jane Doe 1’s description of the incident. But Hanan, we pointed out, could have testified in Masterson’s case that the Church of Scientology was well aware of the allegations against Masterson. That obviously won’t happen now.

Hanan’s son Rizza is not only facing his own felony charge in the Medi-Cal case, he was recently named one of the country’s 12 biggest sources of online disinformation about vaccines in a study by Center for Countering Digital Hate and Anti-Vax Watch.

At his Instagram account, where he announced his mother’s passing, Rizza posted this statement about how he was coping.

 

 

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Sign up for a daily email when we post a new story on Scientology.

Did you know you can get an email every morning when we post our daily Scientology story? We know some of the folks who come to the Underground Bunker aren’t here to talk about the politics of the day, and that’s why we created a daily politics feature over at our other blog, The Lowdown, and we ask readers to take their political discussions over there. And if you drop us a line at tonyo94 AT gmail, we’ll put you on the list so you get a morning reminder that a new Scientology story has been posted — and only for our Scientology stories.

 
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Source Code

“We pick up somebody. Let’s say he’s a Marine captain or something, and we’re auditing him. He’s been a Marine years ago. Obviously, this person is no mystic. This person is no spiritualist. He knows nothing about these things. Let’s audit him, and get through, and so forth. And we audit him for about five hours, and he’s making very slow progress. And he’s liable to ask you at the end of the five hours if you really think his guardian angel approves of the techniques you’re using. Don’t be too alarmed if you hear such a reaction, because there’s practically 100 percent of the populace, one time or another, have been mixed up with spirits, spiritualism, mysticism or any one of the allied lines by which man has sought truth and has gotten booby-trapped. This Marine, you find out, served a long hitch in Santo Domingo. And all the time he was in Santo Domingo he was talked to continually by a mamaloi. Otherwise, this boy’s been sane ever since. He receives all of his directions from a witch doctor, or a witch. Yeah, he’s been ordering troops around on the advice of a witch doctor for years. This is not uncommon. Because a thing is not spoken about is no reason it doesn’t exist or isn’t known. And that’s a good rule for you to go on.” — L. Ron Hubbard, March 31, 1954

 
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Avast, Ye Mateys

“My thanks to S. Moreau, R. Savage, Gerry Armstrong, and H. Harrison for helping on a voluntary basis cleaning up Fwd Tween Decks and Storage and mest moving in Hold 1 last night. L.H. 2 has been cleaned and restowed. Anyone littering or enmesting the area of any hold space will be dealt with severely by Ethics. These spaces (as well as all ship spaces) must be kept neat, clean and secure.” — Capt W.B. Robertson D/Captain FSO, March 31, 1971

 
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Overheard in the FreeZone

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“There is a lot of work ahead. I don’t believe specialist auditors can do the job (they can help a lot of individuals, but there are too many for one or even ten thousand auditors). What is needed is that EVERY person in the world know how to deliver a session, and do so whenever someone near them needs one. Twill eventually get the job done.”

 
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Past is Prologue

1998: The St. Petersburg Times ran a story this week on Scientology’s growing attempts to influence Washington politics. “After years of holding the U.S. government in contempt, the Church of Scientology is enlisting members of Congress, the U.S. State Department and even President Clinton to advance its agenda in foreign lands. Prodded by the Scientologists’ paid lobbyists and its cadre of sympathetic entertainers, several lawmakers and the Clinton administration have criticized the German government for allegedly discriminating against Scientology practitioners. They even got their argument against Germany to the floor of the House of Representatives last November. The lobbying push comes amid an ongoing criminal investigation into a suspicious death of one of its parishioners at Scientology’s Clearwater headquarters – the latest in a history of controversy involving the church. That history includes convictions of 11 Scientologists on charges stemming from break-ins of government offices in the 1970s. Scientology has used lobbyists in Washington in the past, but in the years since the IRS ruling the organization has stepped up its lobbying effort. Records made public last week show that Religious Technology Center, a Scientology affiliate in Los Angeles, paid almost $725,000 to a Washington-based firm to lobby Congress in 1997 and 1996.”

 
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Random Howdy

“Hubbard thought ‘1984’ was a How-To manual.”

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

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Next pretrial conference May 31. Trial scheduled for August 29.

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‘Lafayette Ronald Hubbard’ (a/k/a Justin Craig), aggravated assault, plus drug charges: Last hearing was on January 18, referred to grand jury. Additional charges also referred to grand jury after January 5 assault while in jail.
Jay and Jeff Spina, Medicare fraud: Jay sentenced to 9 years in prison. Jeff’s sentencing to be scheduled.
Rizza Islam and other family members, Medi-Cal fraud: Pretrial conference May 20 in Los Angeles
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud: Next pretrial conference set for April 8.
Joseph ‘Ben’ Barton, Medicare fraud: Pleaded guilty, awaiting sentencing.
Yanti Mike Greene, Scientology private eye accused of contempt of court: Hearing held on February 15, awaiting ruling.

Civil litigation:
Luis and Rocio Garcia v. Scientology: Eleventh Circuit affirmed ruling granting Scientology’s motion for arbitration. Garcias considering next move.
Valerie Haney v. Scientology: Forced to ‘religious arbitration.’ Valerie’s motion for reconsideration denied on March 15.
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: Appellate court removes requirement of arbitration on January 19, case remanded back to Superior Court. Scientology has said it will file an anti-SLAPP motion.
Brian Statler Sr v. City of Inglewood: Third amended complaint filed, trial set for June 28.
Author Steve Cannane defamation trial: Trial concluded, Cannane victorious, awarded court costs. Appeal hearing held Aug 23-27. Awaiting a ruling.
Chiropractors Steve Peyroux and Brent Detelich, stem cell fraud: Lawsuit filed by the FTC and state of Georgia in August, now in discovery phase.

 
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THE PROSECUTION OF DANNY MASTERSON

We first broke the news of the LAPD’s investigation of Scientology celebrity Danny Masterson on rape allegations in 2017, and we’ve been covering the story every step of the way since then. At this page we’ve collected our most important links, including our four days in Los Angeles covering the preliminary hearing and its ruling, which has Danny facing trial and the potential sentence of 45 years to life in prison.

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.

LEAH REMINI: SCIENTOLOGY AND THE AFTERMATH

An episode-by-episode guide to Leah Remini’s three-season, double-Emmy winning series that changed everything for Scientology watching. Originally aired from 2016 to 2019 on the A&E network, and now on Netflix.

SCIENTOLOGY’S CELEBRITIES, from A to Z

Find your favorite Hubbardite celeb at this index page — or suggest someone to add to the list!

 
Other links: SCIENTOLOGY BLACK OPS: Tom Cruise and dirty tricks. Scientology’s Ideal Orgs, from one end of the planet to the other. 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 a weekly series. How many have you read?

 
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THE WHOLE TRACK

[ONE year ago] The Top 25 People Enabling Scientology, No. 4: The LAPD
[TWO years ago] Mark Bunker, now as city councilman, confronts issues with Scientology on day one
[THREE years ago] Scientology is putting Ideal Orgs in every country where it operates — except one
[FOUR years ago] A Scientologist is running for lieutenant governor in Nevada — and it’s who you probably suspect
[FIVE years ago] Jonny Jacobsen: The tweets about Scientology that got a comedian in hot water
[SIX years ago] Reason Rally 2016 in Washington DC: The Underground Bunker wants to see you there!
[SEVEN years ago] Can you help French prosecutors find these witnesses to the death of a Scientologist?
[EIGHT years ago] Paris elects its first female mayor — and you have to see her record on Scientology!
[NINE years ago] Easter Sunday Funnies — Also: Our SMERSH Madness Championship!

 
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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 2,620 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,125 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,645 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,665 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,556 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,863 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,731 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,505 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 1,836 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,309 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,625 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,191 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,110 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,278 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,859 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,120 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,156 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,871 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,396 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 751 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,926 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,477 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,626 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,946 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,801 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,920 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,276 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,579 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,685 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,083 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,959 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,542 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,037 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,291 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,400 days.

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Posted by Tony Ortega on March 31, 2022 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, 1995-2021 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2021), 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, 15 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

 

Tony Ortega at The Daily Beast

 

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