"Rehab Mogul" Christopher Bathum has been formally charged with insurance fraud and multiple sexual assault offenses, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office. Bathum plead not guilty Monday after being arrested Thursday during a raid that included searches of 15 properties linked to the founder of Community Recovery of Los Angeles (CRLA), a network of 19 sober-living facilities in Southern California and Colorado.
Bathum will face charges in two separate cases. In the sexual assault case, he faces 12 counts of providing drugs to female patients of his rehab facility, as well as 34 counts of sexual assault offenses, including rape and sexual exploitation involving multiple women.
In another case, prosecutors charged Bathum and a CRLA executive with insurance fraud, identity theft, grand theft, and over 30 counts of money laundering in connection to an alleged fraudulent insurance billing scheme in which Bathum and the CRLA executive used patients' identities to purchase health plans. Charging documents allege Bathum and his associate then used the fraudulent policies to bill patients for $175 million in services that were often never provided. They received more than $40 million in insurance payouts.
Bathum is no stranger to allegations, and has garnered infamy for his behavior following the filing of numerous civil lawsuits that alleged he took advantage of young female patients, including lawsuits filed by Partner Alan Schimmel on behalf of women who claim they were victimized by the rehab owner's predatory behavior. Authorities opened a criminal investigation one month before ABC's "20/20" aired a special on Bathum. The special, which featured Attorney Schimmel, detailed the sexual assault allegations and pending lawsuits.
The criminal charges indicate that authorities feel confident in their case and the evidence against Bathum. While the criminal case runs its course, victims who have filed civil claims against Bathum, including those represented by our firm, will see their case play out in a separate arena.
Criminal and civil cases are handled independently of one another and operate on different procedures and burdens of proof, even when they involve the same underlying set of events. While a criminal case and conviction can provide a sense of justice, it does not provide compensation to victims who suffered damages as a result of a wrongdoer's actions.
Schimmel & Parks, APLC will remain close to the ongoing criminal case involving Bathum as we continue to fight for our clients and extend our support to any other potential victims, as well as anyone who has been abused in rehab centers or other facilities in which they placed their trust.