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California "rehab mogul" accused of sexual assaults and fraud

CALABASAS, Calif. - A self-described Malibu “rehab mogul” is accused of sexually assaulting several women at his rehab centers, and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office believes there are more victims who haven’t come forward.

Authorities say Christopher Bathum, 55, sexually assaulted the former clients at his rehab centers known as “Community Recovery.” The California Department of Insurance also accuses him and a colleague of perpetrating a $176 million fraud.

According to the LA County Sheriff’s Office, Bathum used to own at least 13 rehab facilities in California as well as six more in Colorado. He was arrested at his Agoura Hills home during a raid that included searches of 15 locations in Los Angeles and Orange counties, reported the Los Angeles Times. According to the Sheriff’s Office he is charged with several counts of sexual assault.

“In May 2016, detectives began investigating several allegations of sexual assaults taking place between the years 2012 and 2016, at the Community Recovery treatment facilities, which involved former clients of Mr. Bathum,” read an LA County Sheriff’s Office statement.

Bathum’s colleague, Kiersten Wallace, was also arrested. 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.”

Bathum is expected to face a judge on Monday.

CBS affiliate KCAL reports that in a 20/20 report before his arrest, Bathum denied all the allegations. 

The LA County Sheriff’s Office is asking anyone with information about the case or nay possible victims to contact the department’s Special Victims Bureau at (877) 710-5273.

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