Rehab Mogul will stand trial in $176 million fraud case

Self-titled “Rehab Mogul” Christopher Bathum will stand trial on charges of fraudulently billing companies $176 million, one of the largest criminal cases against an addiction facility in state history, a judge ruled Tuesday.

christopher bathumLos Angeles County Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor ruled there was enough evidence after a preliminary hearing to send Bathum and his finance officer Kirsten Wallace to trial on nearly 50 charges of grand theft, identity theft and money laundering involving Community Recovery of Los Angeles.

Bathum, 55, operated more than a dozen homes in Los Angeles and Orange counties as well as in Colorado. His addiction homes were targeted last year in a massive law enforcement investigation involving the California Department of Insurance and investigators from the Los Angeles County and Orange County prosecutor’s offices. Bathum and Wallace were arrested at their homes during a morning raid in November.

Both have pleaded not guilty and are being held in Los Angeles County jail in lieu of $1.75 million bail apiece.

Los Angeles County prosecutors allege Bathum stole clients’ identities and purchased insurance policies without their knowledge. He also is accused of double billing insurance companies and charging for services that were never provided.

Among the companies allegedly bilked were Anthem Blue Cross, Blue Shield, Cigna, Health Net and Humana, paying a combined $44 million before discovering the alleged fraud.

Bathum and Wallace are scheduled to be arraigned for trial on May 23. If convicted on the fraud counts, they face more than 35 years in prison.

Bathum also is accused in a separate preliminary hearing of selling methamphetamine, and of sexually assaulting female clients. That hearing is ongoing.

Besides the criminal charges, former employees and patients filed a series of lawsuits claiming Bathum’s only goal was to financially enrich himself and feed a “depraved appetite for drugs and young women to sexually victimize,” said one suit.


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