MALIBU—On Monday, November 14, self-proclaimed rehab mogul Christopher Bathum, 55, plead not guilty to all drug-related and sexual assault charges filed against him when he was arrested by deputies from the Malibu Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station’s on Thursday, November 10.
Prosecutors charged Bathum with 12 counts of furnishing drugs and 34 counts of sexual assault-related offenses including: sexual exploitation, rape and rape of an intoxicated person. Authorities allege that Bathum sexually assaulted female clients and provided some with drugs between 2012 and 2016.
Bathum—the operator of Community Recovery of Los Angeles, also known as CRLA—founded 19 sober living facilities throughout Southern California and Colorado. Of the 19 facilities, 13 were operated by Bathum within Los Angeles County and Orange County.
Bathum and his chief financial officer, Kirsten Wallace, have been charged with 31 counts of money laundering, eight counts of grand theft, six counts of identity theft, and five counts of insurance fraud.
According to the California Department of Insurance, Bathum and Wallace allegedly stole patients’ identities to buy health policies without their knowledge, then billed their former clients for treatment they were no longer receiving.
Between June 2012 and December 2015, Bathum and Wallace issued $175 million in bills for services that, in most cases, were never provided, according to court documents. As a result of the scheme, prosecutors said five insurance companies paid out $44 million.
If Bathum and Wallace are convicted on all charges, each could face up to 53 years in state prison. Bathum faces life in prison if convicted on all sexual assault charges.
Detectives who began investigating the allegations of sexual assault in May indicated last week they believe others may have been victimized and are asking anyone with information on the case to call the Special Victims Bureau at (877) 710-5273, or Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS.