LOS ANGELES - Lindsay Lohan appeared to have skipped out on a court-ordered rehab programme on Thursday, before doing a disappearing act and possibly violating her probation again.
Although her lawyer assured a Los Angeles judge on Thursday that she had checked in to start a 90-day stint imposed for a June 2012 reckless driving case, Lohan was photographed about the same time shopping in a Southern California electronics superstore.
Santa Monica city prosecutor Terry White told the Los Angeles Times hours later that he had learned that Lohan, 26, spent only a few minutes at the rehabilitation facility in Newport Beach before leaving.
"Ms. Lohan is in violation of her probation. That much is clear," White told the newspaper.
Lohan is still on probation for a 2011 jewellery theft. Any violation could make her liable to arrest and being ordered to jail.
Celebrity news outlet E!, quoting unidentified sources, said Lohan never got out of her car at the Morningside Recovery Centre and that she may be headed back to New York.
Calls to Lohan's lawyer and publicist were not returned on Thursday and celebrity news websites reported no further sightings of the troubled "Mean Girls" actress.
Lohan, 26, was sentenced to 90 days in a locked rehab Centre as part of a March plea deal.
She avoided jail by pleading no contest to charges that she lied to police when she said she was not behind the wheel of a car that smashed into a truck in the beach city of Santa Monica in June 2012.
Lohan had until Thursday to start her treatment and had initially agreed to go to a rehab Centre in New York.
Her last-minute switch, reportedly because she could not smoke in the New York facility, left White fuming on Thursday because he said he had not had time to vet the Morningside Recovery Centre.
Officials at the Department of Alcohol and Drug programs said the Centre was not licensed to provide the kind of 24-hour residential alcohol or drug detox programme that Lohan was ordered to attend.
The Centre said in a statement that it operated sober living homes and certified outpatient services at a clinic and had "successfully treated thousands of patients through our programme."
Its website shows pictures of sunsets on the beach, and offers clients group trips to Disneyland, sailing and kayaking.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James Dabney gave prosecutors a week to investigate the Morningside Recovery Centre.
Lohan has spent at least five stints in rehab in the past six years for unspecified issues.