LOS ANGELES -- (KTLA) -- The Los Angeles-based owner of a string of drug treatment facilities has been charged with sexually assaulting nine of his clients and running a fraudulent health insurance billing scheme worth $175 million.
Christopher Bathum, 55, has been charged in two separate cases in recent days, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced Monday.
He owned and operated Community Recovery of Los Angeles and several other facilities in Southern California and Colorado, calling himself the “rehab mogul,” according to the Los Angeles Times.
Bathum has been charged with three counts of sexual penetration by a foreign object, two counts of forcible oral copulation and one count each of forcible rape and rape of an intoxicated person. That case also includes 27 counts of sexual exploitation and 12 counts of furnishing a controlled substance.
Bathum allegedly sexually assaulted patients in their 20s and early 30s from 2013 to 2016. In some of the alleged assaults, he provided victims — struggling addicts — with drugs, the DA’s office said. Some assaults occurred at facilities Bathum owns, prosecutors said.
In the other case, Bathum and his chief financial officer, 43-year-old Kirsten Wallace, were charged with 31 counts of money laundering, eight counts of grand theft, six counts of identity theft and five counts of insurance fraud. The California Department of Insurance is working with local investigators on that case.
The pair allegedly used patients’ personal information to obtain multiple health insurance policies for clients, falsely describing their circumstances to get the policies issued.
They fraudulently billed an estimated $175 million between June 2012 and December 2015, largely for services that were not provided, the DA’s office said.
Five insurance companies paid out about $44 million on the claims, prosecutors said.
Bathum was arrested Nov. 10 by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, which released his booking photo in an effort to get more victims of his to come forward.
Bathum and Wallace each face up to 53 years in prison if convicted in the insurance fraud case; Bathum faces life in prison if convicted in the sex assault case.
Bathum pleaded not guilty Monday and is due back in court Nov. 29, the DA’s office said on Twitter.