Insurance Commissioner Lara issues statement following guilty plea of rehab center owner in $175 million fraud case
News: 2020 Press Release
LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara issued the following statement on the guilty pleading of Christopher Bathum, 58, founder of a Los Angeles drug and alcohol treatment center, who ran a $175 million fraudulent healthcare billing scheme that was exposed by an investigation by the Department of Insurance, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department:
“Thank you to the Department of Insurance detectives, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department whose hard work led to the guilty pleading of Christopher Bathum. He scammed substance use patients and cost insurance companies $175 million, and his plea should be a wakeup call for anybody considering fraud against vulnerable Californians.”
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- Sentencing is scheduled on February 14 in Department 105 of the Foltz Criminal Justice Center.
- 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.
- Additional case information
Led by Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara, the California Department of Insurance is the consumer protection agency for the nation's largest insurance marketplace and safeguards all of the state’s consumers by fairly regulating the insurance industry. Under the Commissioner’s direction, the Department uses its authority to protect Californians from insurance rates that are excessive, inadequate, or unfairly discriminatory, oversee insurer solvency to pay claims, set standards for agents and broker licensing, perform market conduct reviews of insurance companies, resolve consumer complaints, and investigate and prosecute insurance fraud. Consumers are urged to call 1-800-927-4357 with any questions or contact us at www.insurance.ca.gov via webform or online chat. Non-media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800-927-4357. Teletypewriter (TTY), please dial 800-482-4833.