Prosecutors in Los Angeles have charged a self-described “rehab mogul” with multiple sexual assault offenses as well as defrauding insurers as part of a $175-million billing scheme.
“Rehab Mogul” Accused of Money Laundering and Sexual Assault
According to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office, 55-year-old Christopher Bathum is facing accusations in two separate cases: sexually assaulting nine patients and laundering money. Bathum founded Community Recovery of Los Angeles, 19 sober-living facilities located throughout Southern California and Colorado. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges, including 12 counts of furnishing drugs and 34 counts of sexual assault-related offenses, including sexual exploitation, rape, and rape of an intoxicated person.
Prosecutors allege that between 2012 and 2016 Bathum sexually assaulted female clients and also provided some with drugs.
CFO Also Accused
Kirsten Wallace, chief financial officer from Bathum’s company, was also charged alongside Bathum for with 31 counts of money laundering, and additional charges for insurance fraud, grand theft, and identify theft. As alleged by the California Department of Insurance, Bathum and Wallace stole patients’ identities in order to obtain health policies. They also allegedly billed former clients for treatment they were no longer actively receiving. According to prosecutors, as a result of the scheme, five insurance companies paid out $44 million.
Insurance fraud is often committed by business professionals, doctors, lawyers, chiropractors, and others who can make claims for damages or injuries that never really occurred. With this crime, the prosecutor’s goal is to prove the owner of the policy holder intended to defraud the insurance company in order to receive money they weren’t entitled to. Prosecutions in medical insurance fraud has also had a significant increase. Many times doctors and dentists have served prison terms after being convicted of such fraud against Medical and Dentical. Chiropractors also have been prosecuted for alleged false or misleading insurance billing. Crimes such as these are prosecuted by the Attorney General’s, District Attorney’s, or United States Attorney’s Office. Medical insurance fraud prosecutions normally begin when a search warrant is issued against the professional offices of a chiropractor, dentist, or doctor to produce documents. Many of these high profile medical fraud cases against medical professionals are prosecuted by a Medical Insurance Fraud Defense Attorney.
Bathum and Wallace Arrested
Bathum and Wallace were arrested this past week during a raid that included searches of 15 locations in Los Angeles and Orange counties. The investigation was set off following a sexual assault complaint filed this past May.
If Bathum and Wallace are convicted of these charges, each face up to 53 years in state prison. For the sexual assault case Bathum faces up to life in prison.
What is “Sexual Assault”
Sexual assault is defined as any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of a recipient. Included under the term sexual assault are the following: forced sexual intercourse, forcible sodomy, child molestation, incest, fondling, and attempted rape.
Addressing Sexual Assault Accusations
Sexual assault crimes are taken very seriously by the law. If you have been falsely accused you might assume that the charges will just be dropped because of how ludicrous they are to you. These types of allegations do not just “go away,” and you will need to be prepared if you are falsely accused.
Here are some things you can do:
1. Do not speak with police or investigators until you have contacted a criminal defense attorney. They might try different tactics to get you to admit to a crime you did not commit. Remember that they are always trying to build a case. Simply state that you will not speak with them unless there is an attorney present.
2. Get in touch with a qualified and experienced criminal defense attorney. You’ll want to do this as soon as possible, even if you just expect the charges to be dismissed. Prepare for what the allegations might bring. You will be asked to defend yourself, so you’ll need to be prepared. This means contacting witnesses that can testify or provide an alibi for you. You might also need to take psychological tests, or be asked to provide other evidence. Write down as many details as possible about what you remember.
3. Study. A criminal defense attorney will be able to guide you through fighting the allegations, but it’s in your best interest to understand the legal process and know your rights.
You will want to follow all the legal rules and precautions you can, and the best way you can protect yourself is by working with an experienced defense attorney such as Sevens Legal, APC.
If You Get Arrested for a Sex Crime
In 1966, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Miranda v. Arizona, that individuals arrested because they are believed to have committed a crime are allowed certain rights that must be explained to them. This must happen before any interrogation. It’s important to note that these rights only need to be read when a person has been taken into custody. “Miranda Rights” are meant to protect a suspect from self-incrimination and is protected under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Those “Miranda Rights” are as follows:
- You have the right to remain silent and refuse to answer questions.
- Anything you say may be used against you in a court of law.
- You have the right to consult an attorney before speaking to the police and to have an attorney present during questioning now or in the future.
- If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you before any questioning if you wish.
- If you decide to answer questions now without an attorney present, you will still have the right to stop answering at any time until you talk to an attorney. Knowing and understanding your rights as I have explained them to you, are you willing to answer my questions without an attorney present?
Why Work with a Criminal Defense Lawyer?
When faced with serious penalties or spending time in jail or prison, you need to retain a criminal defense lawyer to represent you in court. If you are facing an assault or battery charge, or a theft charge, a criminal defense attorney will investigate your case’s specifics and determine if you were wrongfully charged. They also will be able to identify if there are any other existing reasons for why the case should be dismissed before it goes to trial. If the charges are not dismissed before trial, a criminal attorney may be able negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecutor on your behalf. If a plea bargain cannot be negotiated, a criminal defense attorney will prepare your defense and represent you at trial.
Working with Sevens Legal, APC
After you have discussed the specifics of your case, your Sevens Legal, APC, will let you know your case’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as any possible risks associated with punishment and convictions you may face. Your Sevens Legal, APC, defense attorney can help negotiate a plea deal or whether the best course of action is to move forward to trial, while working constantly for your best interests.
Sevens Legal, APC, criminal defense lawyers put our experience to work for you. Every defendant deserves a zealous defense. To schedule your free consultation with one of our Sevens Legal, APC, criminal defense lawyers, call (619) 494-3440. Contact Sevens Legal, APC, today for a free consultation.
Criminal Defense Attorneys
3555 4th Ave.
San Diego, CA 92103
Phone: (619) 297-2800