LOS ANGELES – ON July 14, 2020, Christopher Bathum, 58, the founder of a Los Angeles drug and alcohol treatment facility was sentenced to 20 years in prison for running a $175 million fraudulent healthcare billing scheme. The sentence will run concurrent to the 52-year term he received on the same day, in a sex assault case.
The Sex Assault Case: Bathum was sentenced for sexually assaulting seven women over a two-year period and ordered to be registered as a sex offender for life.
In February 2018, jurors found Bathum guilty of 31 counts, including forcible rape, sexual penetration by foreign object, forcible oral copulation and sexual exploitation.
Bathum owned and operated Community Recovery of Los Angeles and other entities in Southern California and Colorado. Evidence presented at trial showed that Bathum preyed upon female patients between 2014 and 2016 by providing them with drugs as they battled to overcome their addiction. He then sexually assaulted them while they were under the influence, the prosecutor said.
The victims’ ages ranged from their 20s to their early 30s. Several of the assaults happened at the facilities that he operated.
The Insurance Fraud Case: In January, Bathum pleaded no contest to seven counts of grand theft, five counts of insurance fraud and one count each of identity theft and money laundering.
Bathum and co-defendant Kirsten Wallace (dob 4/3/73) obtained multiple health care insurance policies for their clients, using their personal identifying information and falsified the clients’ circumstances to obtain the policies. The patients were unaware that policies had been issued in their name.
Bathum and Wallace also billed for former clients after their treatment ended while those clients were still working at CRLA and no longer receiving treatment.
Between June 2012 and December 2015, Bathum and Wallace fraudulently billed an estimated $175 million. In most instances, bills were sent for services never provided.
About $44 million was paid out by five insurance companies.
“Kudos to the investigators who worked on this case and saw it through to prosecution and sentencing,” said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) President Alan Barcelona. “Many victims suffered from these crimes, both individuals and businesses.”
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.
Cases BA451664 and BA451669 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.