MALIBU—The founder of a rehab center pleaded no contest in court on Monday, January 6, to running a $175 million fraudulent healthcare billing scheme, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.
Christopher Bathum, 58, pled no contest to 14 felony counts, 7 counts of grand theft, 5 counts of insurance fraud, and 1 count each of identity theft and money laundering. Sentencing is scheduled for Friday, February 14, 2020. Bathum faces up to 20 years in state prison.
Co-defendant Kirsten Wallace was sentenced in 2018 to 11 years in state prison after she pleaded no contest to 46 felony counts related to the same healthcare billing scheme. Between June 2012 and December 2015, Bathum and Wallace fraudulently billed approximately $175 million, some services which never occurred.
Bathum owned and operated Community Recovery of Los Angeles and two dozen other facilities in both Southern California and Colorado. In addition to fraud charges, Bathum was convicted last year on 31 felony counts for sexually assaulting seven women at his rehab facilities. He is scheduled for sentencing in that case on February 14, 2020. He faced four felony convictions for committing fraud on eBay.
The cases were investigated by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigation and the California Department of Insurance.