A man who describes himself as Malibu’s “rehab mogul” is accused of sexually assaulting several women at his rehab centers, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office. Police believe that after the arrest, more victims will come forward. Police say that Christopher Bathum, 55, sexually assaulted former clients at his sober living facilities that are known as Community Recovery Centers.
Detectives began investigating Bathum and Community Recovery Centers in May after someone filed a sexual assault complaint. Now more than a dozen former patients have come forward, accusing him of sexual assault between 2012 and 2016 at the treatment centers. Police believe that now that the arrest has been made public, more victims will come forward.
Bathum owns at least six treatment centers in Colorado and 13 in California. His arrest, which took place at his Agoura Hills home, was part of a raid that included searches of 15 locations in Los Angeles and Orange counties.
In addition to the sexual assaults, the California Department of Insurance also accuses Bathum and his colleague, Kirsten Wallace, of perpetrating a $176 million fraud. According to a California Department of Insurance statement, the pair “conspired to steal patient identities and buy health insurance policies for patients without their knowledge. After completing treatment, Bathum continued to bill insurance companies for treatment services.” Insurance officials accuse the pair of identity fraud. The accusations include signing up clients without their knowledge for different insurance companies to continue to pay for treatment. They continued to bill insurance companies for tens of millions of dollars in drug and alcohol treatment services. Insurers say this took place after the services were completed and the clients were long gone. Insurance companies say they paid nearly 44 million dollars in false benefits out before the fraud was discovered.
“Bathum and Wallace’s alleged conspiracy victimized hundreds of people addicted to drugs and alcohol by keeping them in a never-ending cycle of treatment, addiction, and fraud — all the while lining their pockets with millions of dollars from allegedly fraudulent insurance claims,” Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones explained in a statement.
This is not the first time Bathum and his treatment centers have come under scrutiny. Last June, ABC’s 20/20 aired an hour-long investigation into Bathum and his treatment centers. During the investigation, one clinet came forward claiming sexual assault. She also claimed that Bathum was an active drug user preying on vulnerable women. The treatment centers and Bathum were also the focus of an investigative L.A. Weekly report last year. The report detailed many untoward allegations and dozens of lawsuits filed against him.