COURT CASE: A former Coffs Harbour woman fronted Los Angeles court in one of the biggest fraud cases in California's history.
COURT CASE: A former Coffs Harbour woman fronted Los Angeles court in one of the biggest fraud cases in California's history. file

Coffs woman accused of multi-million dollar fraud

A FORMER Coffs Harbour woman is facing more than 35 years in a United States jail after she was accused of being involved in one of the biggest insurance frauds in Californian history.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported Kirsten Wallace was due to face Los Angeles court today after she was charged with multiple counts relating to the alleged fraud of $US176 million ($233 million) involving drug rehabilitation centres last Thursday.

The California Department of Insurance alleged Ms Wallace, the chief financial officer of the Community Recovery of Los Angeles, and company owner Chris Bathum were involved in an elaborate scheme to defraud patients and insurers.

Prosecutors alleged Ms Wallace and Mr Bathum, who was also being investigated for sexually assaulting patients, stole patient identities, bought health insurance policies for patients without their knowledge and continued to bill insurance companies for treatment after services had finished.

Charges included: five counts of billing fraud for submitting claims for services not provided and duplicate billings; five counts of grand theft by false representation for representing (Community Recovery of Los Angeles) as a residential treatment facility, which is is not licenced to provide; five counts of grand theft by false representation to insurers for filling fraudulent health insurance policy applications and identity theft for submitting fraudulent health insurance applications without patient's knowledge.

Additional charges included enhancements for losses greater than $US500,000 and greater than $US3.2 million.

"This is likely the first wave of indictments and charges in an ongoing investigation into one of the largest health insurance fraud cases in California," California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said.



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