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Private eye firm that spied for Scientology throws up the white flag in sordid lawsuit

[TV polygraph expert Dan Ribacoff and his son Lance]

Yesterday we told you about a disgraced former journalist who was hired by the Church of Scientology to investigate the proprietor of this website. Today, we have an update on a disgraced private investigations firm that was also caught stalking us for Scientology.

We’re talking about Daniel Ribacoff and his firm International Investigative Group (IIG). Ribacoff got some notoriety as a polygraph expert on The Steve Wilkos Show, but over the last several years he and his firm have been caught up in a sordid lawsuit.

We’ve told you about it several times before, that IIG was hired by a wealthy Long Island man, David Smith, who wanted Ribacoff’s investigators to spy on his wife, Susanne Gold-Smith, as they were going through a separation.

Eventually, Smith and his wife reconciled. But then the two of them filed lawsuits against Ribacoff and IIG, alleging that while Ribacoff’s investigators were watching Susanne they began interacting with her in an unprofessional way, that four of the investigators ended up having some sexual contact with her, and that one of the PIs, a retired NYPD detective named Yanti Michael Greene, allegedly raped her. Smith also complained that the firm had overbilled him as IIG figured they had a rich mark on the hook.

Ribacoff denied the allegations, but as part of the litigation the Smiths obtained huge collections of data, including texts from some of the phones used by the investigators. And that’s when we got interested, because those text messages showed that IIG, besides working the case following Susanne, had also worked for Scientology.


Specifically, the texts showed that Greene and other PIs were paid to stalk Leah Remini when she was in New York filming the movie Second Act with her friend, Jennifer Lopez. And why were they following Remini for Scientology? According to the texts, Greene told his partner in the case, “Word is they want to kill her.”

We also got evidence that Greene was assigned by IIG to investigate your proprietor.

So we’ve had some interest in the case, and we’ve schlepped out to Long Island a couple of times to watch court proceedings. And now, we have some updates for you.

Namely, that Ribacoff and IIG have thrown in the towel.

Court documents tell the story that Ribacoff had sold a home in New York and moved to Florida, but the Smiths acted quickly enough to tie up the proceeds from the sale in an escrow account controlled by the court. Now, they’ve had the court release that money so Ribacoff and IIG can begin paying a confidential settlement that will remove them from the lawsuit.

In the meantime, even more evidence of IIG’s sordid behavior was entered in the court record.

In February, a retired LAPD detective and expert in date-rape drugs, Trinka Porrata, produced a report after examining the evidence in the case, which included depositions, interviews, and graphic video recorded by Greene during the encounter with Susanne.

After reviewing the facts, Porrata concluded that the behavior of the IIG investigators was beyond the pale. “The conduct in this case is shockingly unprofessional on many levels. This case involves a total violation of most types of professionally conducted surveillance procedures with open, ongoing, and even sexual conduct with targets or clients.”

Also, one of the investigators owned up to the inappropriate behavior, which in his case included socializing with Susanne, the woman he was supposed to be surveilling, and on one occasion kissing her on the mouth on a dance floor. He not only described his own actions, but provided evidence about the behavior of his IIG colleagues.

“I cannot adequately explain the total shock I experienced,” the investigator said in a sworn affidavit. “To be engaging in sexual acts with [subjects of the investigation] during what was supposed to be covert surveillance was truly beyond comprehension.”

Meanwhile, that investigator’s wife also submitted a sworn affidavit testifying to what Greene had told her about his video recording of the May 17, 2018 encounter he had with Susanne in the back seat of his SUV.

During one of our conversations Greene informed me that he possessed a video recording of himself having sexual intercourse with Ms. Gold-Smith in the back of his vehicle, along with other videos that he believed would end the lawsuits. I remember Greene telling me that Ms. Gold-Smith would be very surprised when Ms. Gold-Smith eventually learned he possessed a “sex tape.” Greene specifically said that Ms. Gold-Smith was “wasted” inside his vehicle while filming this sexual encounter and, in sum and substance, something big was coming down which would destroy her. When I asked Greene if Ms. Gold-Smith knew that she and the sexual activity had been recorded, Greene told me that she [Ms. Gold-Smith] had no idea he had recorded her or the sexual activity which took place that night.

Porrata, the date-rape drug expert, also examined the video evidence shot by Greene, and she concluded that a crime had occurred. “It is my opinion that the sexual activity which occurred in Greene’s SUV in May 2018 is consistent with a drug-facilitated sexual assault of Gold-Smith.”

We’ve previously reported that a judge, after viewing that same video evidence, found Greene guilty of civil contempt for trying to hide that evidence from the court, and awarded the Smiths more than $300,000 in damages.



Yanti Michael Greene (or Michael Moretti Ford Cruz)

But Greene has maintained his ludicrous story that it was Susanne who raped him in the back of his SUV that night, and not the other way around. And since he was saddled with the contempt order and its large penalty last year, his filings have only become more bizarre.

We can tell you, from our own observations of Greene, a retired NYPD detective, testifying in the court in Long Island, that we have never seen a witness so openly tell lie after lie under oath with impunity. It actually appears to be his strategy in the case.

We previously reported on a bizarre cross-examination Greene went through, when he had to admit that during the litigation he had gone to Delaware and lied about being a resident there in order to change his name legally from Yanti Michael Greene to Michael Moretti Ford Cruz without notifying the court in Long Island.

In a subsequent deposition, he revealed that he had created various businesses under the names Michael Moretti, Michael Ford, Michael Cruz, and Michael Moretti Ford Cruz.

The Smiths suspected he was doing that in order to hide his assets from them and to keep them from collecting the contempt of court penalty as he claimed that virtually everything he spent money on was a legitimate business expense. They noticed, for example, that he even put pet food purchases on his company credit cards and asked him about it. Here’s how he explained that in a subsequent court filing, to give you an idea of the flavor of things he puts into the court record.

I have a dog and a cat. Both were classified as “service animals in training” years ago. I am specifically training them as search and rescue service animals. Both were purchased (from kill shelters) with Michael Greene & Associates, LLC business funds, years ago. I’ve tried training my dog as a cadaver dog, searching for dead bodies. I purchased cadaver “sniffing” kits and trained him for years, but his performance level was about 50 percent. I then began training him to search for live humans (traditional search and rescue). He is still in this training. I have brought him with me during real world search missions in the State of Florida and in NYS. I have been training my cat to perform live human searches. He is still in this training. Why a cat? Because cats can fit into small places where dogs cannot. When tethered, a cat is perfectly sized to fit into small crevices, collapsed buildings, etc. Additionally, I am training both of them to be emotional support animals for crime victims and hospitalized children. Both animals are currently being trained 4 times a week and I intend to use them under one of The Moretti Group, Inc. d/b/a’s for post hurricane, post disaster, missing person and injured/victim related work.

And in his latest court documents, Greene continues to insist that he’s being victimized by the Smiths, and appeared to make a bizarre reference to your proprietor, who visited the courtroom a couple of times while Greene was testifying…

The Gold-Smith/Smith duo are well known in Nassau County Civil Supreme Court for being very litigious and incessantly lying under oath with impunity, while seeking public attention and paying social media sources to post their tales, including having one such person pose as a journalist in a Nassau County Supreme Court Courtroom and illegally take pictures during testimony in a hearing related to this current matter.

We’re not sure what photos he’s referring to, because we certainly didn’t take any.

Well, Greene is still getting away with making outrageous statements in court, and he has still escaped any kind of criminal prosecution for allegedly raping an incapacitated woman and videotaping himself while he was doing it, video evidence that a retired LAPD expert says is convincing proof that a sexual assault took place.

Such is the sort of individual that Scientology hires to chase after its perceived enemies.



Technology Cocktail

“Neither I nor the management are responsible for cuts, contusions, violent words, or divorces resulting from attempts to run confrontingness drills by husbands and wives on each other. May you never be the same.” — L. Ron Hubbard, 1957



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 as Danny faces a potential sentence of 45 years to life in prison. NOW WITH TRIAL INDEX.


THE PODCAST: How many have you heard?

[1] Marc Headley [2] Claire Headley [3] Jeffrey Augustine [4] Bruce Hines [5] Sunny Pereira [6] Pete Griffiths [7] Geoff Levin [8] Patty Moher [9] Marc Headley [10] Jefferson Hawkins [11] Michelle ‘Emma’ Ryan [12] Paulette Cooper [13] Jesse Prince [14] Mark Bunker [15] Jon Atack [16] Mirriam Francis [17] Bruce Hines on MSH

— SPECIAL: The best TV show on Scientology you never got to see


[1] Phil Jones [2] Derek Bloch [3] Carol Nyburg [4] Katrina Reyes [5] Jamie DeWolf

— The first Danny Masterson trial and beyond

[18] Trial special with Chris Shelton [19] Trial week one [20] Marc Headley on the spy in the hallway [21] Trial week two [22] Trial week three [23] Trial week four [24] Leah Remini on LAPD Corruption [25] Mike Rinder 2022 Thanksgiving Special [26] Jane Doe 4 (Tricia Vessey), Part One [27] Jane Doe 4 (Tricia Vessey), Part Two [28] Claire Headley on the trial [29] Tory Christman [30] Bruce Hines on spying [31] Karen de la Carriere [32] Ron Miscavige on Shelly Miscavige [33] Karen de la Carriere on the L’s [34] Mark Bunker on Miscavige hiding [35] Mark Plummer [36] Mark Ebner [37] Karen Pressley [38] Steve Cannane [39] Fredrick Brennan [40] Clarissa Adams


Source Code

“We need, then, a peaceful planet. So I worked this out originally as…what became the name of the project: International City Project. Well, I…finally came to the conclusion that if all the capitals of the world were located inside one city that they were not likely to bomb each other out, that they, in effect, would be very careful of declaring war. They would be close cheek by jowl enough to discuss most of their problems…Now, you take every capital of the world and treat it accordingly and then treat it in such a way that transport within the capital is very fast and so that each and every section and center of the capital has some of its own atmosphere rather easily planned up, by the way. It isn’t just a sprawling mess…So Wendell Willkie came out with something he called One World, and practically everybody shot him down in his tracks. He was a pioneer in this particular field. But nevertheless this idea has become more and more popular and it’s actually sweeping in that direction. The first step would have to be you’d have to persuade all governments to turn over all atomic weapons, stocks, control of atomic manufacturers to the United Nations at once, you see. Second step is persuade the United Nations and all governments to select a site for and construct an International City, preferably in North Africa on the Mediterranean coast where land reclamation can expand its area and where its communication lines can be easily centered for Earth. Third step: Persuade all governments to remove their capitals to International City complete with heads of government, congresses and parliaments. Prohibit a secondary capital or even a communication relay center within the country itself.” — L. Ron Hubbard, March 24, 1964


Avast, Ye Mateys

“TELEXES are meant to be answered the same day; when answered, they go to the ‘Telexes In’ basket in the Comm Bu. Deadline 2300 hrs. Even if they cannot be answered immediately, they should be returned to this basket, as these telexes go up to LRH for his viewing after 2300. These unanswered telexes will then be returned for answering.” — Org Off Bu IV, March 24, 1971


Overheard in the FreeZone


“Many of us left ‘official’ Scientology beginning in the 1970s. As the Sea Org advanced, we retreated. In our view, we are the keepers of ‘true’ Scientology, who apply what we know of it with reason, not fanaticism. That includes Child Scientology, in which book Hubbard expresses and encourages some very kind sentiments towards children.”


Past is Prologue

1999: The Ottawa Citizen published an article about Scientology celebrity Jenna Elfman. “‘The most obnoxious, proselytizing Scientologist in Hollywood’ was how Movieline magazine recently described her. Asked about it, Elfman doesn’t rise to the bait. ‘I mention Scientology a lot,’ she says matter-of-factly. ‘But I never spoke to that magazine or the person who wrote that article. I never proselytized to them, so I thought the article was pretty funny.'”


Random Howdy

“I went to the Scientology rebuttal site for ‘Going Clear’ and it’s almost as long as the book! They start fairly low-keyed and then next thing I knew they were inferring that Dave Touretzky was trying to get people to bomb Scientology orgs. They can’t control the crazy for too long.”


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

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Mistrial declared November 30. Retrial scheduled, jury selection begins March 29. Next pretrial hearing: Feb 16.
‘Lafayette Ronald Hubbard’ (a/k/a Justin Craig), aggravated assault, plus drug charges: Grand jury indictments include charges from an assault while in custody. Next pretrial hearing Feb 13.
Rizza Islam, Medi-Cal fraud: Trial scheduled for March 1 in Los Angeles
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud: Next status conference Feb 13.

Civil litigation:
Baxter, Baxter, and Paris v. Scientology, alleging labor trafficking: Complaint filed April 28 in Tampa federal court, Scientology moving to compel arbitration. Plaintiffs filed amended complaint on August 2. Hearing November 17 to argue the arbitration motions, awaiting ruling.
Valerie Haney v. Scientology: Forced to ‘religious arbitration.’ Selection of arbitrators underway. Next court hearing: March 15, 2023.
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: Appellate court removes requirement of arbitration on January 19, case remanded back to Superior Court. Stay in place at least through February 7.
Author Steve Cannane defamation trial: New trial ordered after appeals court overturned prior 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.



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.


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.


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?


[ONE year ago] Scientology leader says he has 2.5 million square feet of new churches coming soon
[TWO years ago] Danny Masterson holds on to his passport as judge decides he’s no flight risk
[THREE years ago] Scientology leader David Miscavige calls the pandemic ‘planetary bullbait’ in epic briefing
[FIVE years ago] Leah Remini talks ‘Aftermath,’ developing a new show, and more with Chris Shelton
[SIX years ago] DREAM LAWSUIT: ‘God of Pop’ Kuba Ka vs the Church of Scientology. THANK XENU, IT’S ON!
[SEVEN years ago] Chris Shelton: How Scientologists can use critical thinking to break free
[EIGHT years ago] ‘Going Clear’: Paul Haggis pens a description of the Scientology experience you won’t forget
[NINE years ago] Jillian Schlesinger says Scientology now ‘sneakier’ about forcing abortions
[TEN years ago] It’s Ron’s Birthday, And Your Present is More Scientology Stuff to Spend Money On!
[ELEVEN years ago] Scientology 451: Commenters of the Week!


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 2,978 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,483 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 3,033 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 2,023 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,914 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,218 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 3,089 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 2,194 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,671 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,983 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,549 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,468 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,636 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 4,217 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,478 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,514 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,230 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,794 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 1,109 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,284 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,835 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,966 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,304 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 9,159 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,278 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,634 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,937 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 3,043 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,441 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,317 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,900 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,395 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,649 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,758 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on March 24, 2023 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, 1995-2022 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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