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Rizza Islam defiant as his trial on Medi-Cal fraud begins today

It’s been more than seven years since we first broke the news at the Underground Bunker that several Scientologists were facing felony charges for an elaborate scheme to defraud California’s Medi-Cal health insurance.

According to state investigators, the scheme was run out of a rehab called “American Health and Education Clinics” at the World Literacy Crusade, a notorious Scientology front operation in Compton, California. Hanan Islam (who had founded AHEC), three of her children, two other counselors at the rehab, and three local high school educators were all arrested and charged.

The scheme allegedly made use of unwitting high school students who were put through a Narconon program (Scientology’s brand of rehab) — even though they didn’t have drug problems — so the state could be fraudulently billed.

The high school educators who supplied those students to the scheme lost their jobs, two of Hanan’s children pleaded guilty, and Hanan herself died of cancer last year while awaiting trial.


That leaves only her son, Ronnie “Rizza” Islam, 33, still facing charges. And after years of delays, jury selection for his trial begins today at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center in Los Angeles, just down the hall on the ninth floor where the Danny Masterson rape trial ended on May 31 with his conviction.

Unlike Masterson’s two trials, which were heavy with testimony about Scientology, we don’t expect that Scientology will be mentioned very much during Rizza Islam’s trial. At a preliminary hearing during which the scheme was laid out in detail, Scientology didn’t get mentioned.

But still, we’re interested in how this proceeding goes, and Jeffrey Augustine, who attended that preliminary hearing, will be going to the trial and sending us reports.

Over the weekend, Rizza and his attorney Jeremy McLymont let it be known that Rizza remains defiant and sees his prosecution as politically motivated. McLymont put out an eye-opening press release that we thought you’d want to see…


And Rizza himself took to social media to rally his fans…


As we pointed out in our first story about this case in 2015, the World Literacy Crusade had quite a checkered history as a Scientology front operation, founded in 1993 by Alfreddie Johnson, a Baptist minister who had turned to Scientology following the 1992 LA riots. Hanan Islam became Alfreddie’s partner and opened the AHEC rehab there in 2004. According to the WLC website, the clinic used the Scientology Narconon program, and in photos from the website Rizza could be seen using an e-Meter.

But Rizza is an interesting figure because he was also a prominent member of the west coast branch of the Nation of Islam.

In fact, NOI, under its leader Minister Louis Farrakhan, was becoming more and more involved with Scientology, a crossover that reached a new urgency in 2010 thanks to one of Scientology’s well-known celebrities: Leah Remini.


Remini later regretted donating money to help Nation of Islam figures, and in particular key NOI Los Angeles figure Tony Muhammad, to become involved in Scientology.

Today, Tony Muhammad is known as Abdul Malik Sayyid Muhammad, and he is a Freedom Medal winner, the highest award a Scientologist can receive. Just this week, the church put out this mailer showing that Muhammad has reached the level of OT 3, which contains the infamous material about a galactic overlord named Xenu.


Rizza Islam, on the other hand, has played down his Scientology involvement since his arrest, but his notoriety has only grown. In 2021, he was named one of the twelve biggest sources of online disinformation about vaccines in the country, a distinction that won him admiration from Infowars host Alex Jones.

Even then, however, facing felony counts for health insurance fraud, and notoriety for being a major national source of vaccine disinformation, Rizza and this felony case had never been mentioned in the Los Angeles Times.

We are curious to see if that changes today.


Technology Cocktail

“There are now three styles of auditing: Tone 40, Formal and Engram Auditing. The first two are quite adequate to clear fifty percent of cases. It takes a new approach to get enough locks off the rocks of the remaining fifty percent to get them clear too. I’ve been busy, busy, busy. I had the largest ACC ever held in the world during October and November. And I had the luck in research to put us on a new plateau of stable clearing.” — L. Ron Hubbard, 1958




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 [41] Louise Shekter [42] John Sweeney


Source Code


“The president of a law school had been employed to obtain this warrant and the Chief Federal United States Marshal, I think they have a sort of a feeling like they’re still western marshals or something. They go around with big guns hanging on them and so forth. The only trouble is they normally pick people off Skid Row to have these jobs, and it’s rather incongruous, you see. And this fellow, he was utterly mad-dogging because he was sure that I had just beaten up two of his marshals. Actually, I hadn’t beaten up a marshal. I had taken the gun away from one and told him how to use it and put it back in his holster, because I thought he would get into trouble. I explained it to him. I said, ‘You’ll get in trouble waving that about and so forth; and this is the hammer, and this is the trigger.’ And he handed it over to me, and I said, ‘These are the butt plates, and there’s the ammunition,’ and so forth, and slid the cartridges out of the chamber and told him to put them in his pocket, and put the gun back. Nobody was picking on him, and it was all all right, and he did it. You think I’m kidding you, but he did it. ” — L. Ron Hubbard, June 26, 1961


Avast, Ye Mateys

“There’s lots of good work being done — it’s in the majority. For instance the great majority of sessions today were excellent. And on changing anchorage all hands, bow and stern anchors, there wasn’t a single flub. And I had a fresh lobster dinner beautifully done. And several people handled the naval visit beautifully indeed. So I can quote an old poem: A HEALTH UNTO THE HAPPY/A FIG FOR HE WHO FRETS.” — The Commodore, June 26, 1969


Overheard in the FreeZone

“If it were to be the case that some extraterrestrial beings do in fact eat human bodies, would it be ‘better’ if those ETs audited the humans they were going to consume? Just as we eat chickens and cows and pigs. Shall we audit the chickens, cows and pigs? So as to reduce the ‘entheta’ coming in? It is a well known fact that sheep or goat meat has toxins and tastes bad if it is not well ‘processed.’ In Mexico, the ‘processing’ starts by getting the sheep or goat drunk with alcohol, so that it does not suffer from stress. And there is also the Jewish concept of Kosher food. It is intended so that the animal does not suffer unnecessarily from the killing process. ‘The ‘entheta’ generated in the crazy ‘farm factories’ (birth, rising and killing) is enormous and needs to be dealt with.”


Past is Prologue

1995: An update on the charges against Scientology executives in Spain was posted this week. “In November of 1988, Heber Jentszch, president of the Church of Scientology International was detained along with 69 other Scientology officials. He was then arrested and imprisoned for approximately 30 days and later released on bail of close to one million dollars. He is now required to return to face the charges made by the state attorney in this case when it comes to trial. The scientologists face over 100 complaints ranging from fraud and coercion to illicit organization. The State Attorney will charge them with approximately 90 different illegal acts. Another named party in the case is the now head of the Office of Special Affairs or OSA, Mr. Kurt Weiland. Weiland, the object of a search and detention order by the Spanish police in 1983, was connected at that time to an alleged kidnapping as well as acts against dissident Scientologists in that country. It is also doubted that Weiland will present himself at the time of the trial as he has been named as a principal missionaire involved in some of the alleged illicit acts which caused the case to be opened. A date for the trial has not yet been established.”



Random Howdy

“You’re the bees knees, i-Betty. You’re the one.”


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

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Found guilty on two counts on May 31, remanded to custody. Sentencing on Aug 4.
‘Lafayette Ronald Hubbard’ (a/k/a Justin Craig), aggravated assault, plus drug charges: Grand jury indictments include charges from an assault while in custody. Trial scheduled for August 15.
Rizza Islam, Medi-Cal fraud: Trial scheduled for June 26 in Los Angeles
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud.

Civil litigation:
Baxter, Baxter, and Paris v. Scientology, alleging labor trafficking: Forced to arbitration. Plaintiffs allowed interlocutory appeal to Eleventh Circuit.
Valerie Haney v. Scientology: Forced to ‘religious arbitration.’
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 June 28.
Jane Doe 1 v. Scientology, David Miscavige, and Gavin Potter: Case unsealed and second amended complaint filed. Next hearing August 1.
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 is uniting vastly different countries to take over the world!
[TWO years ago] Scientology to US Supreme Court: Valerie Haney predicament is not a First Amendment case
[THREE years ago] Derek Bloch: Why is Scientology keeping a dying mother away from her son?
[FOUR years ago] Scientology destroyed her family, but this former Sea Org worker has a surprise ending
[FIVE years ago] VIDEO: ‘Chicago Fire’ star Christian Stolte’s tribute to Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard
[SIX years ago] Scientology’s sneaky strategy: Suck up to police departments through ‘Drug-Free’ campaigns
[SEVEN years ago] David Miscavige gets ribbon-happy in Florida: It’s the Scientology social media review!
[EIGHT years ago] Jefferson Hawkins on how Scientology closes minds — a new podcast
[NINE years ago] Scientology has a new recruitment video to get you to sign up for a billion years!
[ELEVEN years ago] Luka Magnotta’s Scientology Screed: ‘I Wished Every Night That Tom Cruise Would Adopt Me’


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 3,072 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,587 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 3,137 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 2,127 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 2,008 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,312 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 3,183 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 2,288 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,735 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 4,077 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,643 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,562 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,729 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 4,311 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,572 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,608 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,324 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,888 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 1,203 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,378 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,929 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 4,060 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,398 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 9,253 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,372 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,728 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 7,031 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 3,137 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,535 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,411 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,994 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,489 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,743 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,852 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on June 26, 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 (2012-2022), 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


Tony Ortega at Rolling Stone


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