FLORENCE — A Lauderdale County physician pleaded guilty late Wednesday in federal court to defrauding Blue Cross Blue Shied of Alabama and Medicare for nearly $1 million in connection with billing a health insurer, officials said.
Dr. Diana K. McCutcheon, 55, of Killen, pleaded guilty to four counts of health care fraud and two counts of wire fraud, U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance said.
McCutcheon entered her plea in front of U.S. District Judge Inge Johnson, officials said.
She is accused of billing the insurance company and Medicare for non-reimbursable cosmetic skin treatments, authorities said.
Vance said in entering the pleas, McCutcheon also agreed to forfeit $990,389 to the government as proceeds of illegal activity.
Officials with the U.S. Attorney’s Office said McCutcheon’s case was scheduled for trial Monday.
McCutcheon was indicted in March. The 96-count indictment alleged McCutcheon submitted bills to the insurance provider and Medicare for procedures she did not perform.
The case was investigated by the FBI with assistance from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama.
The grand jury indictment accused McCutcheon of wire fraud and health care fraud committed through her clinics in Elgin and Lexington.
The Lexington clinic was closed for more than a month before the indictment and remains closed.
Elgin Quick Med remains open and is being serviced by another doctor.
Investigators said McCutcheon was performing cosmetic laser surgery and other treatments for sun spots, age spots, wrinkles and other skin conditions that were not covered by insurance.
She is accused of defrauding the insurance company and Medicare by submitting claims for the removal of multiple skin lesions on patients. Investigators said none of the patients knew about the deceptive practices.
Authorities said insurance companies became concerned after receiving an abnormal number of claims for procedures such as the lesion removals.
In some cases investigators said she is accused of billing for as many as 15 or more at a time.
According to the indictment, the fraudulent bills were submitted between 2007 and this year.
Each of the health care fraud counts carries a maximum punishment of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Each of the wire fraud counts carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
McCutcheon will be sentenced in March.
Tom Smith can be reached at 256-740-5757 or tom.smith@TimesDaily.com.