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Insurance Commissioner Lara issues statement following guilty plea of rehab center owner in $175 million fraud case

News: 2020 Press Release

For Release: January 8, 2020
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
Email Inquiries: cdipress@insurance.ca.gov
Insurance Commissioner Lara issues statement following guilty plea of rehab center owner in $175 million fraud case

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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Media Notes:

  • 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


The California Department of Insurance, established in 1868, is the largest consumer protection agency in California. Insurers collect $310 billion in premiums annually in California. Since 2011 the California Department of Insurance received more than 1,000,000 calls from consumers and helped recover over $469 million in claims and premiums. Please visit the Department of Insurance website at www.insurance.ca.gov. Non-media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800-927-4357. Teletypewriter (TTY), please dial 800-482-4833.

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